Yuval received a production grant for his play Tunnel Boring Machine.
What is your artistic background?
I grew up in Israel. I studied cinema and theatre at art college and discovered the likes of Patrice Chéreau and Claude Régy. It was a theatrical universe very far from what was happening in my country at the time. After two years in the Israeli army (an obligation for all young people in the country), I deserted to avoid the third year and I went to Tel Aviv to do theatre with friends. One of my first plays was a political and satirical cabaret about the life of an 18-year-old soldier. I joined the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in Tel Aviv and created Under Blue Sky and White Clouds, a play written from improvisations. I then became an associate artist at the Arab Hebrew Theatre in Jaffa, which brings together Israeli and Palestinian artists. I staged a few productions there and worked with artists from the Bat-sheva dance company. Then I met Mohammad Bakri, a great Palestinian actor who directed the film Jenin...Jenin. With him I created Cabaret Voltaire, a show about the culture of death between Israelis and Palestinians, this collective memory used as a political question. Cabaret Voltairereceived the congratulations of the jury and the 1st prize of the C.A.T International Theatre Festival: best play, best direction, best original music & best choreography. At the actOral festival (Marseille), I presented Jecroisenunseuldieuby S.Massini, then I met Laetitia Dosch, a magnificent actress, author and director, with whom I created a staging of Sight Is the Sense...by Tim Etchells, and then collaborated on Un Album, a show about Zouc, the Swiss humorist. With Hubert Colas, the director of Montévidéo—a place of residence and creation dedicated to contemporary writing in Marseille—I was assistant director on Nécessaire et Urgent, the adaptation of a text by Annie Zadek. He also invited me to work as an actor in Martin Crimp's Face au Murand then in Une Mouette ou Autres Cas d'Espèces, a free adaptation of Chekhov's play. As an author, I wrote Cabaret Voltaire(2010), then co-wrote Un Albumwith Laetitia Dosch (2013). I have been hosted in writing residencies at Montévidéo in Marseille, at the Théâtre de Vanves, at the Chartreuse de Villeneuve-les-Avignon and at the Tripostal in Lille for Tunnel Boring Machine, which will premiere in November 2017 as part of the NEXT festival at the Phénix, Scène Nationale de Valenciennes and at the Maison de la Culture in Tournai. Tunnel Boring Machineis a prize-winner of the national commission for the creation of dramatic texts - ARTCENA.
How do you see your profession today?
As an author, I always try to position myself as an astonished child who believes in the sacred, the spiritual or in faith. Belief is very present in my work, at some point on a daily basis I am religious, in my own way. In my work, the link with the body is very important, that's why I often choose to work with dancers. I am looking for a place of sharing, a place where we are equals. There isn't really a show, we share something with the audience and we are equals. I'm not looking for a place of performance, for me it's a place of creation: a collective creation, us and you. In directing, I insist on the fact that the audience is not passively watching, on the contrary it is active in creating what happens on the stage. The performers tell a story and give the impression that they are inventing this story. Even if it's not true, I like to give that feeling, the story is the present moment, nothing is planned in advance, you arrive on set without having prepared anything in advance, and ... something has to happen. I'm looking for that emptiness, in which everything happens. I'm looking for the ‘nothingness’, which gives life the freedom to appear.
How do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years?
I don't know the answer, but I like slippery ground! Genesis (17): "The only joy in the world is to begin".
This interview was conducted in 2017
Photo credit: Antonin Amy-Menichetti