Snorting and hiccupping with laughter is the usual audience reaction to the Tel Aviv comedy troupe known as the Tziporela Ensemble. The nine-member group is hoping to elicit the same response from American audiences next month.
Already famed for their Off-Broadway style of slapstick comedy, music and short theater sketches, it only makes sense that the award-winning Israeli theater troupe should celebrate their American premiere … Off-Broadway.
They’re taking their fourth production, “Odd Birdz,” to the Players Theater for a five-week run, from October 14 to November 19, 2014.
“This proves that dreams come true,” producer Gal Friedman tells ISRAEL21c. “This was a dream that we dreamt and we achieved the ability to make this dream come true. New York is the core of what theater means in the world. That’s where things in showbiz happen. And we’re going to be part of it and that’s very exciting.”
The troupe’s members met when they were students at the Nissan Nativ Acting Studio over a decade ago and have been collaborating ever since.
“Shifting from complete nonsense to refined satire, dancing to acrobatics, sophisticated jokes to idiotic voices, constant wittiness to 30-second-long sketches, Tziporela does it all, and with a great amount of talent,” raves Time Out Tel Aviv.
They’ve tweaked their show for an international audience, and Friedman believes Americans will keel over in laughter just as Israelis do.
“We’ve had a very good experience in Italy, Australia and in Israel with the show. We’re sure New Yorkers will love it,” he says.
The skits are takeoffs of everyday life but there are also noticeable jabs at classical literature.
Tziporela includes Friedman, Lotus Etrog, Efrat Aviv, Omri Doron, Ben Perry, Tamara Klingon, Dana Ivgy and Tomer Nahir Petluk. The New York cast will also include Naama Amit and Danny Isserles.
To make sure they set off on the right foot, Tziporela – which has both Hebrew and English shows in its repertoire – is set to perform the same show they’ll be doing in New York, for the international audience in Tel Aviv on September 17.
Asked if they’ll franchise out, like the Israeli-made Voca People and Mayumana productions have done, Friedman says it’s under discussion.
“We want to be part of the Off-Broadway community,” he says. “We don’t know if we can franchise ourselves. We can’t answer about that right now. But we are open to do as much as we can to be in New York and be there as long as we can. The world is global and you need to understand that if you want to be an actor or artist your art needs to be around the world. You can’t just do it in Israel, or in your hometown. If we need to be three months in New York, we’ll do it.”