The 31st Acre Festival of Alternative Theater seeks to suggest new theatrical languages for familiar themes or to examine them in a completely different way.

The four-day festival (September 26 to 29) offers plays, music, dance, street theater and guest productions/installations, characterized by what Helen Kaye of The Jerusalem Post describes as “daring and sometimes truly original thinking.”

This year’s Acre Festival takes place in and around the Crusader Fortress in the Old City. There are nine plays in competition, as well as five more called Acre 2 that weren’t selected for the competition, but that the artistic committee considered deserving of production.

Among the nine competition plays, one of the top contenders is likely to be The Family Table, a three-hour multi-layered work by the iconoclastic David (Dudu) Ma’ayan, whose 1980 winning festival play, Arbeit Macht Frei, has entered Israeli theatrical legend. His new play takes eight different groups of people through the alleyways of Acre’s Old City and brings them together around a huge dining table.

There are 17 premieres of street theater, from Romania, Spain, Germany, Slovenia and Holland, and one which is a local/Croatian collaboration called Via Dolorosa Now. All the street theater is free.