Working Up a Sweat, Mayumana's Be Opens March 13 in NYC

News   Working Up a Sweat, Mayumana's Be Opens March 13 in NYC The clattering rhythms you've been hearing since Feb. 23 in Union Square have probably been coming from previews for Be, presented by the Israeli rhythm-dance-performance troupe known as Mayumana.
A Mayumana dancer performs in Be.
A Mayumana dancer performs in Be. Photo by The Mayumana Company

The internationally acclaimed work — created and directed by Eylon Nuphar and Boaz Berman — opens in its American premiere March 13 at Off Broadway's Union Square Theatre.

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Mayumana (pronounced my-YOO-muh-nuh, from the Hebrew meaning "skill") was created in Tel Aviv in 1996 as "a purely theatrical event that combines elements from various art disciplines based on music, movement, acting, dance and Rhythm," according to production notes. "An ever-evolving performance piece, Mayamuna has gone through constant re-creation in its 10-year history, giving focus to the individual talents of its evolving roster of cast members, who come to the show from all parts of the globe."

Be is billed as "an explosive new 90-minute production specifically created for its American premiere."

Co-creator Nuphar admitted, "It's not easy to classify this show. It's music, it's theatre, it's percussion, it's dance, it's wit. It's us being ourselves and basically, anything goes. Creativity and energy are our main themes. We put an emphasis not only on the technical skills of the performers, but also on their ability to play both among themselves and to the audience." "These performers are artists who were carefully selected by talent, versatility and personality make-up," stated Berman. "Each contributes to the overall piece by creating specifically tailored singing, dancing and acting roles. With all of these elements coming into play and working in unison, every performance is usually somewhat different."

Mayumana has been experienced by more than 3.5 million people worldwide and is the recipient of the Award for Excellence in Theater Production by Israel's National Academy of Theater. Since 1996, Mayumana has performed over 5,000 shows in more than 30 countries worldwide.

Throughout the past six years, there has been a Mayumana show — usually two or more — performing somewhere in the world almost every evening, the creators said.

The multinational Off-Broadway premiere cast includes co-creator Boaz Berman, Sharon Ben Naim (Israel), Vicente de Andres (Madrid), Michael Feigenbaum (Switzerland), Alba Bonal Garcia (Barcelona), Silvia Garcia de Ves (Palma de Mallorca), Ido Kagan (Israel), Yael Mahler (Israel), Eva Boucherite Martin (Spain), Taly Minkov (Mexico), Reut Rotem (Israel), Ido Stadler (Israel), Aka Jean Claude Thiemele (Ivory Coast) and Hila Yaffe (Israel).

The production features scenic design by Nizan Refaeli, costume design by Neta Haker, lighting design by Eyal Tavori and sound design by Amir Schorr.

Mayymana's Be is presented Off-Broadway by Marc Routh, Tom Viertel, Steven Baruch, Roy Ofer, Mayumana Ltd., Annette Niemtzow and Pamela Cooper.

The performance schedule for Mayumana's Be is Tuesday through Friday at 8 PM, Saturday evenings at 7 PM and 10 PM, and Sundays at 3 PM and 7 PM.

Tickets are $20-$60 and are now available by calling (212) 505-0700, or through Ticketmaster.com at (212) 307-4100.

Tickets are also available in-person at the Union Square Theatre box office. For groups, call (800) 677-1164.

For more information, visit www.BeOffBroadway.com.

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Co-creator, co-director Eylon Nuphar was born in New York, and moved to Israel with her family at the age of six. She started out as a gymnast and a long distance runner. A graduate of music and theatre studies in high school, she then studied photography and cinematography, working as an editor for several years. She studied percussion, oriental music and belly dancing both in Israel and abroad, and played in various ensembles touring internationally for several years. In 1996, Berman and Nuphar came up with the idea of creating a show together and performing in it. Since creating Mayumana, they have continued to collaborate, creating and directing Adraba, Mayumana's show for kids, which has been running in Europe and Israel for the last six years. In 2006, a new show called Bejuntos (starring David Broza and Mayumana) was created and in 2007 they devised together the new Mayumana show, Be. Lately, Nuphar has spent time writing about her experiences as a cancer survivor, and working on a photography exhibition and a documentary film.

Co-creator, co-director and performer Boaz Berman was born in Tel Aviv, and spent most of his childhood by the sea or playing rhythms on any instrument he could get his hands on. Berman studied music at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Afro-Cuban percussion in New York. He was a member of the Israeli Thai boxing team, participated in surfing competitions in the U.S., worked as a diving instructor at a diving center in Tel Aviv and is a certified skipper. He played and recorded with leading Israeli and international artists. Berman and Eylon Nuphar, his co-creator of Mayumana, are the artistic force behind the Mayumana organization, making sure that the shows maintain the high standard they have set. Berman writes music for films and continues developing new ideas for Mayumana while taking part in the daily artistic management of the shows and performing in them.

The company of Mayumana's <i>Be</i> at the Union Square Theatre.
The company of Mayumana's Be at the Union Square Theatre. Photo by The Mayumana Company