The Back Room
A young standup comedian who has severed all contact with his family uses it as material for his performances.
Humor enables him to escape from the images of the past that have haunted his life, from his ineffectual father, his eccentric, uninhibited mother, and his tyrannical and adored uncle, as well as from the messianic passion with which the three of them refer to the sanctity of the family. His cousin’s return to Israel confronts him with his parents and uncle, and the family unit is gradually revealed with the potential it holds for hell.
Critical Acclaim for The Back Room
“One of the most human, most touching plays I have seen on our stage recently.”
5 Stars ***** (Yedioth Ahronoth, 29.12.2016)
“Pain interlaced with humor in a believable and moving performance.”
“An excellent production… One of the best Israeli family comedies… The Back Room provides a dual experience, which fully corresponds with the play, of immense enjoyment, lots of laughter, and painful, destructive drama. Not to be missed.”
“…Edna Mazya has already gained fame as an expert on families and intergenerational relationships. We have seen it in The Rebels, A Family Affair, and more recently in The New Criminals, each family with its own story, each story with its own twist. But this time she surpasses herself with family flaws that become twisted and unimaginable as time elapses. In her incisive writing Mazya knows how to intersperse moments of humor in the right places and at the right moments, and create a perfect balance between them and the rest, so that the despair becomes easier; in this play there are moments that leave the audience uncomfortable in their seats, you sometimes actually feel like getting up and shaking the characters that are suffering total blindness and denial – so when the comic relief arrives it is certainly liberating.
Mazya’s dialogues are a gift for the actors, but on this occasion the actors are also a gift for the dialogues – a superb cast of five who portray the characters with great precision. They are spearheaded by Moni Moshonov and Sandra Sadeh. Sadeh is wonderful and total in the role of the manipulative wife who lives with the sin of arrogance and denial. It is a pleasure to see Moshonov on a theater stage in a role that allows him to demonstrate his unlimited abilities. His heartrending confession from his sickbed is one of the play’s most powerful and unforgettable moments.
The bottom line: Pain interspersed with humor in a believable and moving performance.”
“Moni Moshonov is the father who is unable to impose his will on the home and defend his son. Opposite him, Sandra Sadeh and Dudu Niv are most convincing in their roles as the sick couple. Hila Feldman builds a sensitive and beautiful character. Yedidia Vital as the son who becomes a victim gives a living, human, restrained, and ironic but also stormy performance that arouses compassion. It is to his credit that this family story of Mazya’s becomes one of the most human, touching plays I have seen on our stage recently.”
5 Stars ***** (Yedioth Ahronoth, 29.12.2016
“Five superb actors… Sandra Sadeh and Moni Moshonov are both excellent… Yedidia Vital is touching, Hila Feldman is very believable, Dudu Niv is frighteningly convincing… With five actors like these it is difficult to stage a bad production…”
“A psychological-family drama that wrenches the heart and casts light on the kind of troubling phenomena that are not talked about in ‘good families’. Moni Moshonov is captivating and Sandra Sadeh is wonderful.”
Edna Mazya was born in Tel Aviv. She holds an MA in Philosophy and Theatre Studies from Tel Aviv University, where she taught dramatic writing.
Writing for cinema: Screenplays for Amos Gutman films: Afflicted, Bar 51 and Himmo King of Jerusalem.
Writing for theatre: Vienna on the Sea, The Double (after Dostoyevsky), adaptation of Platonov, The Uncle From Capetown (the Haifa Municipal Theater), Games in the Back Yard, also staged in Haifa, translated into several languages and staged all over Europe, including at the Royal Court Theatre in London.
At the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv: A Family Story (awarded the Meir Margalit and Leah Goldberg Awards), The Rebels (awarded the 1998/99 Playwright of the Year Award and the 1999 Margalit Award) Was It A Dream? and The Aristocrats.
She wrote and directed Herod, Bad Kids and Stempenyu – an adaptation of a novel by Shalom Aleichem, co-directed with Yechezkel Lazarov; A Family Romance and The Nouveau Criminals.
She directed Best Friends, Lysistrata 2000, Via Dolorosa, Househusband, Brighton Beach Memoirs (which she also translated) O God, Happy Ending, Meagre Fish and Lovesick on Nana Street
In 1997 her novel The X Outbreak was published by Sifriya Hadasha-Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publishing House, and in 2005 her book A Family Romance was published by Keshet Publishing House.