“The Land of Lost Games” is an original musical produced by the Kiryat Malachi Community Center and is a smash hit. The idea of putting on a musical for Hanukkah was conceived about 8 months ago. The Partnership wanted to upgrade Art City, and wanted to use all the expertise and infrastructures accumulated over the years to put on a large scale production. This tied in with the dream of putting on a large and professional production which would give the city a boost and, in particular, strengthen the community center and Art City.
Six months ago we recruited a director and a playwright, and we held auditions which were attended by over 100 youth and adults, out of whom 17 talented people were chosen. The cats of actors were joined by six dancers from the local Tzuza dance company. The actors worked for around five months on the script, the acting, diction etc. A general rehearsal was held on November 30 2013, in the community center auditorium, with scenery, music and lighting. All told around 400 people in took part in the general rehearsal and the previous rehearsals. On Sunday December 1 2013, at 11 a.m., the first performance of the musical took place in the presence of Mayor Elyahu Zohar and the director of the Partnerships Unit of the Jewish Agency, Andrea Arbel. The tickets to the show were priced at NIS 100 and, this time too, the auditorium was full. On the Monday there were two more sold out performances, at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., with tickets priced at NIS 29. Ahead of the last show, at 6 p.m. on December 4, we could not meet the demand for tickets.
All told, 2,800 men, women and children watched the musical. People came from Zichron Yaakov, Raanana, Herzliyah and even from the far north to see the show. People were very moved, both by the content and by the standard of the performance. The community center received requests to put on more performances in other places around the country.
Following the last show, on December 4, I sat with the actors and director and producer, to talk a little about how the show had impacted on each of them. They all talked about the experience they had and the joy they got from it, and about how their ambition and dreams had been realized, and many more moving tales. However I remember, in particular what Hila Daie said. Hila is an outstanding student who attends Darka High School and, as part of her school schedule, once a week goes to an exposure day at Ben Gurion University, within the framework of a higher education accessibility project. With tears in her eyes, Hila told me excitedly: “I participate in a higher education accessibility project and got to Ben Gurion University in Beersheba once a week. Before the show people would ask me where I come from. When I’d says Kiryat Malachi they would laugh at me, and at the city I come from, and I would withdraw into myself, lose my self-confidence and cry, and feel hurt, without telling anyone. But, since the musical, I am proud to tell them I live in Kiryat Malachi, and I even say so defiantly. There is no city that has done so much with its youth as Kiryat Malachi with this musical. Today I am proud of my town. I want to thank the director, the playwright, the community center director, Partnership2Gether and the Jewish federations of Seattle, Tucson and Phoenix for their support of the project over the years. Thanks to you I, and many more people from Kiryat Malachi, hold their heads up high and feel a special pride in our town.”
Hila Cordona, one of the participants in the The Land of Lost Games musical:
“Hello, hello sweeties,” I say when I go onto the stage and children in the audience call back: “Hello… hello…” “How wonderful that you are here… Do you know where I am going?” my text continues. “No… where?” the children answer innocently. That’s how my first monologue in the The Land of Lost Games musical begins. We do “dry run” rehearsals for half a year, and suddenly it’s – lights, stage smoke, and… an audience!! An audience that answers and responds, cooperates, activates us, is captivated and sings with you.
I remember the Art City program from the beginning. I was part of the team that coordinated the project and, together with talented youths and young adults who emerged over the years in our town, we put on small and large productions. We created scenery, danced, sang, acted and produced. Each gave something in his or her own field, but everyone was together on the same stage!
I returned to Art City this year, and this time via an advertising notice that was on one of the noticeboards in town, which read: “Do you want to be the next star? Do you want to appear on stage? Auditions will take place on such and such a day at such and such a time”… and, from that point on, everything is history. I made some inquiries, deliberated and then decided to go to the auditions. On the day of the auditions I was amazed to see how many people had turned up, without understanding why. It was only because of the possibility of being on stage.
I passed the auditions and then I had my first introductory encounter with the team (some of whom I had worked with in the past as colleagues), and with the chosen actors-singers (who had participated in Art City in the past). Form there we carried on to regular Monday and Tuesday sessions, which turned into daily gatherings until the time came to perform for an audience. Yes! The show is on! Not one show, but six!! And “only” six because there wasn’t the time to fit more in.
At the end of the last show, when the lights went down and the audience dispersed I felt a change. I felt that something big had happened in Kiryat Malachi this Hanukkah and that, from now on, when someone says “Kiryat Malachi” they can say it with great pride!”