Run by Tel Aviv University’s prestigious Theater Department, the SmallStage festival kicks its seventh year of operations off this Sunday for five days of fringe drama performances.
The festival is constituted of productions headed by those studying in or otherwise associated with the department, which is the country’s largest and arguably most respected drama program. Many of its alumni have moved on to become among the elite in Israeli theater and entertainment, including the festival’s founder, Lilach Dekel-Avneri, who now works with the Tmuna troupe.
Including staged plays as well as off-stage dramatic “happenings,” the festival itself maintains a decidedly fringe vibe thanks to the hunger and integrity of its participants, but also thanks to strict guidelines that all shows stick to low spending budgets, high standards of edgy creativity and a crisp 50-minute duration ceiling.
This year’s festival has been largely conceived by artistic director Liron Libskind, currently working on his master’s degree in theater. Among the intriguing performance titles are Three Small Silences (pictured), She and Birdman.