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Yitzhak Rabin: Chronicle of an Assassination at the Coronet Theatre

The aftermath of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin is laid bare on stage for us all to sink into, and much like in the aftermath of Rabin’s assassination, there is little hope in the air as I leave the theatre.

YITZHAK RABIN: CHRONICLE OF AN ASSASSINATIONThe director (Amos Gitai) places the audience as witnesses to retellings of the days leading up to, moments of, and immediate aftermath of the far-right attack resulting in Rabin’s death. Both the style and approach of the show are odd. Actors, if that is the right word, in this case, sit at a long wooden table reading from scripts differing perspectives of Rabin’s impact and perception amongst the Israeli population. The acting is minimal, but this works well and does a lot to persuade the audience that these are, in fact, the very characters they portray.

The performances work well together to distil the hope for peace between Israel and Palestine and the overwhelming depression after Rabin’s assassination.

It is a simple show. And within that is a space for the audience to think for themselves, and while occasionally it is a little proscriptive in the conclusion of said thoughts, for the most part, we are allowed to work it out for ourselves.

That being said, I spent large parts of this play somewhat lost. Unless you know the details of Palestinian/Israeli politics of the mid-1990s, may also be baffled. While I managed to work out the content of the discourse, I spent the first 45 minutes of the play trying to work out the socio-political context of the events being described.

Throughout the play are musical interjections, with solo and choral pieces offering punctuation between dense sections of text. The music is beautiful and gives the audience recess from what is unrelenting text. However, it feels disconnected from the rest of the play and lacks the weight it seems to believe it has.

I don’t think theatre should tell you everything. However, the play is wasted when it takes most of the play to work out what is being discussed. And while it if had provided context, it would be criticised for taking a side; I do not think taking a side is something to be afraid of. I do not think having to do homework for theatre is a good thing, and while the overall message of the play was powerful once it got there, a lot was lost in getting there.

2 gold stars

Review by Tom Carter

Filmmaker Amos Gitai returns to The Coronet Theatre with Yitzhak Rabin: Chronicle of an Assassination, a live performance based on his 2015 film Rabin, the Last Day, an investigation into the assassination in 1995 of the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, after a demonstration for peace and against violence in Tel-Aviv. The assassination cast a cold and brutal light on a dark and terrifying world – a world that made murder possible, which suddenly became apparent to a traumatised public.

Written by Amos Gitai and Marie-José Sanselme, and drawn from the memories of Leah Rabin, the Prime Minister’s widow, the production is a fable performed by an exceptional cast of singers, actors and musicians including Natalie Dessay, Irène Jacob and featuring the English Voices choir.

Four voices are brought together to create a recitative, “halfway between lament and lullaby,” to travel back through history and explore the incredible violence with which the nationalist forces fought the peace project, tearing Israel apart.

Natalie Dessay
Irène Jacob
Maya Kadishman
Einat Weizman
Bruno Maurice (accordion)
Alexey Kochetkov (violin)
Louis Sclavis (clarinets)

Conductor – Richard Wilberforce
Soprano – Rebecca Lea, Hilary Cronin
Mezzo Soprano – Lucy Goddard, Ruth Kiang
Tenor – David de Winter, James Robinson
Bass – Rob Macdonald, Chris Webb

Concept, Films and Direction – Amos Gitai
Text – Amos Gitai and Marie-José Sanselme
Translation – Marie-José Sanselme
Lighting – Jean Kalman
Assistant to Director – Talia de Vries
Production & Video – Laurent Truchot

With the support of the Institut français du Royaume-Uni

Thur 4 – Sat 6 Nov 2021


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