Concentrating on Othello-two of our veteran readers, Joe and Hanni, together with a younger reader, Aviva.

If you stand outside the walls of Beit Ariela in Tel Aviv it looks like your usual library - quiet, venerable, relaxing, maybe a little bigger than most.

Once inside, however, you'll find a different world - kings are crowned, villains plot, men go into battle, a nobleman gives his life for honor, another - a very fat man - convinces you that honor's just a word: "who has it - he that died on Wednesday". Magicians wave their wands, fairies dance, And sometimes somebody gives a lecture.

If it's Monday night, it's the drama group in action!

Sitting around a table in one of the lecture rooms, the group - allied to TACT (the Tel Aviv Community Theater) - are talking to the walls. They've been doing this every Monday night for the last 15 years.

Every second Monday it's Shakespeare night. On the Monday in between we choose another playwright. And we all get a chance to read.

One of the group leads the meeting. He/she has been burning the midnight oil to prepare the introduction. Then,  that moment we've been waiting for - we read the play. This is the time we can show the world what good actors it has missed.

Of course, as Hanni Lux says, they've been through the canon at least three times - but Shakespeare never palls - always there is something new, always the plays seems as fresh and interesting as ever (well, maybe not all of them).

Hanni is 85 years old and doesn't even need spectacles when she's reading (let's admit, I'm jealous). Together with Ida Isaac, one of our younger members, she has been organizing the group since it began in the 1990s. But, she says, teeth showing in a friendly smile, "we need new blood" (no, not that - we mean readers).

"The group started up as an idea by Gina Alfandary," says Hanni. "At first we sat quietly while somebody lectured. Gradually this changed, and today we have a constant interchange of ideas."

They have heard and read so much Shakespeare that most of the people might be considered experts. They would scoff at this idea, and are only too happy to give everyone a chance to lead yet another play.

As for that Monday in between - it's not as well attended as the Shakespeare evening, but this is when the group reads modern (and occasionally ancient) playwrights.

If you're interested: Beit Ariela (near the law courts), Monday night, the English drama group. We meet in the large and comfortable lobby at 19:30. If you're late, ask the guard which room we're in. And we definitely won't turn you away if you're "older". You're one of us. And, by the way, we have quite a few "sabras" in the group.


Ida Isaac - 09-955 0089

or (mornings)

Mike Porter - 03-641-5878

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Mike Porter

Mike Porter was born in South Africa. In Johannesburg he became a newspaper reporter on the Rand Daily Mail, besides writing for the Sunday Times, Zionist Record and, years later, for the EP Herald...

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