The Accident, a Critique of Israeli Upper Middle Class, Opens in DC Feb. 8 | Playbill

News The Accident, a Critique of Israeli Upper Middle Class, Opens in DC Feb. 8
Theater J in Washington, DC, presents the English-language premiere of The Accident by Hillel Mitelpunkt, translated by David Berkoff and adapted for the American stage by Ari Roth, opening Feb. 8 after previews from Feb. 4.

The "scalding look at upper-middle class life in an Israeli suburb" will run to March 8, in the Aaron & Cecile Goldman Theater at the Washington DCJCC. It is part of the troupe's Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival.


According to Theater J, "In this gripping, universal drama, as much about the state of modern marriage as it is about the State of Israel, a fatal accident on New Year's Eve leaves a Chinese immigrant laborer dead on the road. Two couples' intersecting lives unravel in the wake of their decision not to report the collision. When the daughter of one of the couples discovers the hidden secret, she undertakes a moral interrogation of the Israeli upper-middle class, looking closely at the state of affairs her generation has inherited. With marital indiscretions rising to the surface and moral corruption exposed in the professional arena as well, this play, from popular Israeli playwright Hillel Mitelpunkt, takes a biting look at Israeli society and the way we live now."

Israeli director Sinai Peter returns to Theater J after last directing the Helen Hayes Award-nominated Pangs of the Messiah, reuniting with Israeli composer Hannah Hakohen and Pangs actors Michael Tolaydo and Becky Peters. The cast will also feature Jennifer Mendenhall, Paul Morella and Theater J newcomer Eliza Bell.

The design team includes scenic designer, multi-Helen Hayes Award winner Tony Ciesk. Theater J artistic director Ari Roth stated, "What's so amazing about the play, is that it's at once an incredible metaphor illustrating how an entire class of society lives in a state of denial and, at the same, it's a thrilling sexual drama. It's like Patrick Marber's Closer meeting up with Woody Allen's 'Crimes and Misdemeanors.' It's both sexy and disturbing. And it's about Zionism without ever explicitly mentioning Zionism. It's also about Israel as it relates to the Far East, not just the West, or its Middle East neighbors. There's something incredibly up-to-date about this portrait."

Playwright Mitelpunkt, a leading and prolific figure in Israeli theatre, has written and staged over 30 plays of his own, and directed an even greater number of well-known plays by foreign authors in the last 30 years. His plays are staged in Israel's leading theatres (Habima, Cameri, Beth Lessine and Haifa Municipal Theatre) and toured throughout the country. He is currently the playwright in residence at the Beersheba Theatre and was previously in residence at the Beit Lessin Theatre in Tel Aviv. This is the first time this work has been produced in the Unites States.

Director Sinai Peter served as an artistic director of the Haifa Municipal Theater.

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