Saddam Hussein – A Mystery Play - Oil is the key to power, the US is planning an attack on Iraq and in an underground bunker Saddam Hussein is meeting his doubles. They cogitate over war, songs of loyalty and do ritual dances. Metaphysical poetry mixes with pure nonsense, while the acrid scent of oriental cigarettes fills the air. On the other side of the world, George W. Bush is assuring himself that he is about to wage war not out of a desire for oil, but out of mercy. One of Israel's most successful productions of recent years and the winner of the Acco Festival. The production shows war as a clash of various ways of thinking, as a thing full of impenetrable mystery and as a source of very peculiar humour.
About the director of "Saddam Hussein – A Mystery Play": Yonatan Levy (1974) – He was born in Montreal, Canada. In 2005, he graduated at the Department of Theatre Arts, Faculty of the Arts, Tel-Aviv University. Levy‘s artistic work unfolds over several practices: he is a playwright, a director, an actor, a poet and a publicist. Apart from that, he is also an educator inspired by anthroposophist philosophy. Levy‘s poetic and dramatic texts are characterised by a unique style of language and syntax inspired by mythic and ritual elements. His stage work includes experimental productions and co-creating performance and stage pieces with his adolescent pupils. Along that, Yonatan is a co-artist of the interdisciplinary art group Cordoba (installation, video, painting, poetry and more). Among his works premiered at the Acco Fringe Festival are Saddam Hussein (2011 – awarded Best Play, Best Music and second Best Performance), solo spoken-word performance The Israeli Phoenix: Messianic Poetry Epic (2009), Mr. Universe (2007), Manu, king of Atlantis (2004 – awarded Promising Artist and later on awarded Best Play and Best Interdisciplinary Work by Israeli Fringe Association the so-called Golden Porcupine competition). Among other Levy’s works are Good Energies, a verbatim staging of Israeli parliament economics committee protocol (2011).
A dark ceremonial performance which holds oil, the modern god, as its core. It is hard to determine whether Levy wishes us to take this drama seriously and recognize Saddam as a postmodern tragic archetype, or see him as an empty reproduced figure, and the whole show as humoristic anti-theatre. This is undoubtedly one of the most original and funny shows I saw, also thanks to the anarchistic energies rising from the superb performance of Levy and his collaborators.
(by Shai Bar-Yaakov, Yedioth Ahronoth)