David Ben Gurion- This is your life!
Expose a select group to the figure of Ben Gurion - the man and the statesman, as well as the political and ideological context in which he lived and worked; Present David Ben Gurion positively, as a person of action; convey the essence of the content to a larger audience as a spectator-participant happening, or live theatre.
Age: spectators 12 to adults; participants 12 to adults
Time: preparation a couple of evenings and dress rehearsal; on stage - 30 mins.
A. The Set-up
You have all the source materials necessary in this series to produce a lively show in the style of "This is Your Life", to unfold the life and deeds of B.G. through the eyes of those who knew him by staging "encounters" and using audio-visual media (slides and Chinese shadows) to create extra drama. If you want to make this more entertaining, your interviewer can introduce entertainment acts between every two "guests" and thus act as coordinator for a whole evening programme. Someone will have to be responsible for stage production and someone for audio; e.g., the tapes you may use and the musical or special effects.
We suggest you have someone slick and agreeable but smart as the interviewer/presenter and someone who's a good ham (even the shaliach) as Ben Gurion.
Note: Don't let the audience hassle Ben Gurion!
Incidents and characters you need:
For 30 minutes of interviews or 50 minutes including entertainment/show, you will need six or seven dramatis personae to interact with B.G.
Aim to portray and review ideas connected with Israel generally rather than just B.G.'s life, particularly since there is so little good material anywhere on B.G. the man. Use the quotes from speeches, the biography; the Post supplement; data provided on other Zionist leaders in this kit.
His daughter, for all home aspects about her father.
Worked with B.G. and later became his private secretary, taught him Spanish and witnessed him learning Greek; can remember anything (purported) about B.G.'s correspondence with his opponent Jabotinsky ("Post" supplement), as well as almost anything B.G. did as P.M., its implications etc., since 1973. Believes in moderation.
Yitzhak Ben Zvi
Good for reminiscing about early pioneering, days in Turkey and Greece, why B.G. came on aliya, the early state.
B.G. always said Weizmann was not a statesman because he couldn't take decisions, so use him to highlight B.G.'s decision to declare a state even at the risk of war before the defence system was ready; use him also for why B.G. wanted legal and illegal immigration during the 30s and 40s and so on.
B.G.'s protege from Aliyat HaNoar, moved with him to found the Rafi party and aims to follow in his footsteps.
He's good for all the Etzel and Lehi opposition to incorporation in the IDF where B.G. insisted on state primacy with no Party influence on united defence forces; it is also interesting to see how they made peace in 1970.
And so on...
Leave a surprise guest in the audience.
B. Preparations with your Group
You will need to examine your aims, your message with the group and the means at your disposal, including time and manpower, before choosing your incidents and personalities. Then see which you present through media and which will actually interact with B.G.
In addition to rough scripting, your interviewer will want to have continuity notes on his scriptboard as well as the outline written down.
Remember - Ben Gurion did not have a sense of humour - pragmatic and astute.
Stage Effects and Materials:
Three or four chairs, coffee table, microphone (optional); Two tautly-connected single sheets (white) around wires or a frame for the Chinese shadows which replace any film sequence
Some photos on stage for showing to B.G.
Haim Bar Zohar's Biography of B.G. (for rehearsal and for effect on coffee table).
Prepared recordings of B.G.'s voice for use and reasonable amplifier system;
Slides and projector, to use on same screen as for shadows, but with rear light off.
Rear light (projector type) about 3 metres (10 feet) behind shadows screen to turn on and off as necessary.
You will need to rehearse the shadow scenes very thoroughly... The slide projection must also be rehearsed.
The tape sections must be rerecorded in the order you will need them.
This technique is excellent for the presentation of abstract concepts and flashbacks. Actors mime behind a screen on stage which is lit from behind. The screen is two white sheets tautly sewn together and hung around a frame or from a wire and pulled tight. The rear light source is a powerful projector (or even desk fluorescent if your activity takes place in a small hall or moadon), placed some 2 to 4 metres behind the screen. This distance will depend on the size of silhouettes needs, screen and stage dimensions.
Shadows vary in size with the distance the actors move from the screen towards the light source. There is no end to the number of variations this technique provides and you will have great fun rehearsing.