Teatro Arcobaleno Rainbow Theatre

Press 2005
On the Happening “Bread for Peace”
which took place this week.
by Rachel Clein
From Alon Kibbutz Sasa, the Bulletin of  Kibbutz Sasa
Friday, June 3, 2005.

We left at six thirty Wednesday morning on our way to Bethany-Azariyyah, with stops to collect passengers on the way. With us were people from all the area: Dalton, Bar’am, Gush Halav and other places – nearly a full bus.

The purpose of this meeting between Israelis and Palestinians was to get acquainted and to undergo a common experience, with no political overtones. Peace is not a political issue, but a matter of humanity. This was a chance to meet people who live far away from us, with opinions that are perhaps very different from ours; but what was common in the meeting was the baking of bread, spending time together, and mutual respect.

During the bus ride Edna Calo-Livne’s cell phone did not stop ringing. There were calls from people here and abroad. Radio broadcaster Tali Lipkin-Shahak also called and interviewed Edna live on her program. Many journalists were present at the event itself – Arabs, Italians and others. Hayyim Yavin was there too, but as a private person, not as a representative of the Israeli media.

On our arrival we were welcomed by the teen-age boys of the village, dressed in Scout uniforms, with drums and cymbals. Women came to us to shake hands. After that there was a ceremonial exchange of gifts: we gave them baskets of fruits, and decorative sheaves of wheat stalks designed by Roby Cohen, and they gave us olive branches.

After the ceremony we went to the place of the event – the bakery, beside which a tent had been set up. Samar, Edna’s partner in organizing the event, is the director of an orphanage in the village, and of a shelter for battered women as well. The bakery also belongs to the shelter, and supplies work for the women. During the short program there were speeches and greetings in all the languages, and there were performances: a musical group with two instrumentalists and a female singer; a portion of the show “Beresheet” by Edna’s troupe; a liberation of live doves; and also an attempt to sweep the crowd into communal dancing, with only partial success.

The organizing of everything was perfect. We kept to our schedule, despite the stops at the numerous collecting-points, and everything that had been planned was carried out. Also the parallel events that were supposed to be held in Italy were carried out, and fresh reports from the locales there reached Edna’s cell phone during the ride home.

Edna’s energy and enthusiasm, and the cooperation between Edna and Yehuda, are deserving of the highest appreciation. It is true that when we got off the bus I heard Edna say, “I’m tired,” and maybe that was the first time I’d heard those words from her mouth; but in my opinion events such as this one are extremely important, and it takes courage, determination and strong faith to carry them out in the troubled atmosphere prevailing in our country.

The important thing in my eyes was the participation of people of different ages, on both sides. The older people on both sides of the barrier are fixed in their opinions, and each side is convinced it is right; but what gives a spark of hope is the teen-agers and children participating in such meetings and getting to know each other. And all this thanks to the activity of Edna and Yehuda. All that remains is for me to say to them “Well done!” on their contribution to society. I am proud that there are such people among the members of my kibbutz.
A vibrant, and attractive Israeli woman born in Rome is capturing the hearts and souls of Italians. Her name is Edna Angelica Calo Livne and since the day in 1975 when she explained her imminent aliya to a packed auditorium of Roman Jewry, she has been living in Kibbutz Sassa.

Angelica and her husband Yehuda devote their lives to reaching out to children - children of kibbutzim; Israeli child victims of terrorism (bringing them periodically on vacations to Italy through Yehuda's beresheet Le Shalom Foundation); and Christian, Muslim, Druse and Caucasian-Circassan children of Kibbutz Sassa's neighboring villages on the Lebanese-Syrian border. These children are the actors of the Rainbow (L'Arcobaleno) Theater productions, which focuses on pantomimed dance, and expressing emotions through body language.

"Beresheet" and "Anne in the Sky" are two of the latest productions performed at the Venice Film Festival and in Rome during the September Week of Jewish Culture. A two minute trailer of an animated three-dimensional Anne Frank film with Anne's true face digitalized and superimposed, to be completed in 2006, was also shown. The audiences, coached into conversing with the actors after performances, were visibly moved.

"Beresheet" enacts the eternal cycle of birth, war, death and renewal. Masked actors begin as a formless mass of orange versus fuscia, clashing to the point of near annihilation until they begin to touch and love each other. Only then are all but two of the masks removed, because "some people will always be unreachable", says Angelica. . .
"Anne in the Sky," is a freely interpreted Diary of Anne Frank, conceived and written by Angelica Cal and Roberto Malini . While one Anne writes at a desk, another dances the story, and yet another off-stage girl's voice recites a selection of Anne's thoughts, attesting to her great talent and humanity - the Anne that became "the mother of all children" in Bergen-Belsen, the Anne "that would have become a great writer had she been permitted to live."

Then comes the knock on the door - masked and rigid SS officers. Auschwitz is projected onto the screen. A sudden interruption and the children reappear, clothed in white, entering like snowflakes. They confide their dreams to the audience - "to find a cure for cancer," "to become a midwife," "to build a house."

The knocks are heard again, but this time Anne's voice commands, "No. Don't open the door. We will not open the door."

The play is dedicated "to Anne Frank and to all children who live in places where it is still difficult to dream."
"We couldn't restrict it to ourselves," said Angelica in an interview with The Jerusalem Post. "In addition to Jews the Shoah exterminated gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally and physically infirm, Christians, even Muslims. Anne's words of hope and belief in humankind are universal."

Angelica recalls how her Arab students told their families the story and came back saying "It's beautiful. But is it true? Who was Hitler and what was the Shoah?" Angela explained and then they said "We hope this never happens again. We are happy to be part of this mission."

Angelica's message wells up from inside her. In one breath she conveys a myriad of emotions: her untarnished faith in Israel 's founding ideals, ("After Yom Hazikaron commemorating the 20,000 victims of all our wars, my stomach churns. But in the evening we all dress in white to welcome Yom Hatzmaut, a gift of hope to our children"), her passion for peace that transcends politics ("We don't want this war! I tell you, take everything you want so long as you let us live in peace") her fears, ("We need the [security] fence because we have the right and duty to defend our children. Both Jews and Arabs become victims of bus explosions") and her deep identification with the Shoah, ("When I saw the heaps of hair in Maidanek, I was right there with them").



Press 2005  
Teatro Arcobaleno Rainbow Theatre


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