Things aren't as (so) bad as they seem, a new play at Tzavta by Aviva Rosen who coped with breast cancer.
What happens when three women go on a singles trip when war breaks out? They get closer to one another and discover that all three of them are battling a common enemy - breast cancer. Despite all their differences, they get to know themselves better through their friendship, and make various decisions regarding their lives.
Things aren't as (so) bad as they seem, a new play by Aviva Rosen who coped with breast cancer herself, is being staged with the Israel Cancer Association's blessing and with the assistance of Roche Pharmaceuticals as part of the Roche Lends a Hand Project (Roche Moshita Yad). The play features actresses Noa Meiman, Tzipor Eisen Lior, Raanan Paz and Ronit Ziv who coped with breast cancer.
This is a play that recognizes that cancer is part of our lives - it's a potentially curable disease that can be scary, but for the most part you may live a full life, while coping with the disease and its aftermath. Despite the fact that the characters' lives and relationships change completely, as do their personal outlook and world view, and in spite of the dramatic subject, Things are as (so) bad as they seem, is a lighthearted play that is brimming with humor, song and dance.
Oded Menster, the play's director, is known as a versatile actor who appears in the theater, films and on TV. In the past he has also directed plays staged at the Anat Barzilay Acting School, and even directed children's plays. From his perspective, directing this play was a new type of challenge.
The play debuted on 22 October 2016 at Tzavta. Playwright: Aviva Rosen. Director: Oded Menster. Actors: Noa Meiman, Tzipor Eisen Lior, Ronit Ziv, Raanan Paz. Assistant director: Sivan Kilstein. Music: Roni Zakkai. Choreography: Dalia Shmaryahu Rosen. Sets: Tali Yitzhaki.
Playwright Aviva Rosen recounts: "The main point of the play deals with the women's perception of femininity and their relationships, which drastically changed in the wake of their state of health. Nowadays, cancer is usually a chronic disease, one out of every seven women develop this cancer, called the female cancer. As such, it has a great impact on self-image. One of the messages that this play conveys is that cancer is currently part of our lives, but you can live with it and even live well, when you succeed in coping with its personal and social side effects. We wish to paint a picture, touch and move audiences, because we've all coped with cancer, having fought our own personal battle with the disease or with that of loved ones, and when it comes down to it, nearly everyone has coped with this disease in one way or another, or is currently contending with it".
The play's language is characterized by dramatic moments from the past, consisting of flashbacks from the time before the disease, and receipt of the news of the diagnosis; these scenes take place behind a semi-transparent screen, with the characters shown as silhouettes. The same goes for imaginary scenes and dialogues. On the other hand, this is a lighthearted play, thanks to its humor, song and dance. The actors dance and convey life's energies that exist in every one of us, even in people dealing with cancer. The play features a mixed language that conveys how the characters face a complicated reality, juxtaposed with moments of fantasy and joy which are always a possibility, even in the midst of all this complexity. Today, in view of the increase in cancer prevalence, it's time for a different dialogue and exchange of ideas about cancer. We must transform cancer from an unmentionable disorder ('he succumbed to a difficult disease'), to a social phenomenon that can be dealt with directly.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women; according to ICA and Ministry of Health statistics, it emerges that each year over 5,000 new cancer patients are diagnosed each year. Early detection is currently the most effective means of countering breast cancer. The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the higher the chances of a cure - leading to a recovery rate of 90% and higher. It is impertaive that all women become familiar with the regular feel and appearance of their breasts, so that they can detect changes if they appear and proceed to a physician on time and demand that the nature of the transformation/s be clarified. In parallel, women may get themselves checked by a physician specializing in manual breast exams, once a year. It is important that women aged 50 and older undergo a mammography screening provided free of charge, once every two years, as part of the National Breast Cancer Early Detection Program. Woman who are at high risk, who have a mother or a sister who developed breast cancer, are advised to undergo this screening starting at age 40, once a year, and sometimes even earlier, according to their attending physician's recommendations. A breast MRI is recommended for periodical screening in women who've been identified as BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation carriers. All these tests are covered by the national health package.
Photo credit: Yonatan Levi