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A new Israeli TV show that is streamed on Hulu is excellent, but frustrated – Kveller

A new Israeli TV show that is streamed on Hulu is excellent, but frustrated – Kveller

We have some good news and some bad news. Since we are living through tough times, I want to start with the good news – one of the best Israeli shows ever made, “Hazarot” or “Rehearsals” in English, is now available on Hulu.

The bad news is that there have been allegations of sexual harassment against two of the actors in the program.

“Rehearsals”, created by Noa Koler, Erez Drigues and Asaf Amir, became one of the biggest Israeli TV sensations back in 2020, garnering major awards and winning a total of eight Israeli Academy Awards.

It is about two theater creators, a playwright Iris (Noa Koler) and a director Tomer (Erez Drigues), who get a giant contract to produce and set up a comic play they have collaborated on about relationships – just as their own romantic entanglement goes in resolution. .

The show is fascinating. The writing is demanding, both fun and gripping, and the performance from the powerhouse crew is incredible.

They include the brilliant Evgenia Dodina, a theater and TV legend who plays Vera, the tough woman who runs the theater where the play is staged. Agam Rudberg plays Maya, an ambitious young actress who is cast in the play – but who really wants to play Chekhov. Opposite her is Itay Turgeman as Ofer, a shameful TV actress who is working on her first theater role ever.

The show is based on the true story of the production of the play “Echad + Achat” (One plus One), which is also the title of the play Tomer and Iris are working on in the show. The play from 2010 was created by, and played the lead role, Drigues and Koler at the famous Israeli Gesher Theater. It’s based on the real resolution of their own relationship (yes, this show is incredibly meta, but it’s not at all clumsy about it).

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“Rehearsals” is full of insight into the inner workings of the Israeli theater world – for example, it is clear that the play will be a commercial hit, but their resources are constantly being taken away by a temperamental Austrian director working on a production of “The Seagull “- but it also depicts human relationships. “It hurts now, but it’s over,” Iris tells Maya after Tomer does not catch her in a fall. She might as well say it to herself, fresh on the breakup and forced to sit with the resentment that simmered behind their relationship every day.

Koler’s performance as the shattered but fiercely principled Iris is perhaps the most convincing in the series, even though she faces stiff competition. She is a much-loved actress in Israel and a true media lover, with good reason: She is incredibly convincing on screen and has a dynamos range – she can make you howl with laughter in the comedy sensation “Checkout” and can give you heart palpitations and give you to tears in dramatic roles. Through her plays and in “Rehearsals”, she has also proven that she is a brilliant writer who understands the difficulties of intimacy.

Nevertheless, Koler’s work with “Rehearsals” is deeply linked to Drigues, who co-created and co-wrote the show. One month after the finale of “Rehearals” aired in February 2021, Political Correct, an independent feminist publication, published a story citing several allegations of sexual harassment against Drigues – some from women who were minors at the time. The allegations include inappropriate text communication.

Drigues has apologized for his actions and has blamed sex addiction, a condition that has not been confirmed to exist by medical professionals, for his behavior.

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The TV character of Ofer, who plays the real Drigues in the play, also has problems with forced sex: He was fired from his job in a popular TV show for sending dick pictures. Drigues has since said that the character’s battles were based on his own.

Koler has called the revelations about Drigues “difficult, complex, depressing, painful”. She has said that she has not ruled out working on season two of the show, but it is currently out of the books as she is working on other projects (she is currently playing in the incredibly excellent Israeli show “Fire Dance”).

Around the same time as Drigues’ victims showed up, allegations of sexual harassment against actor Shmil Ben Ari have also surfaced. In the show, Ben Ari plays a veteran actor who, in the first episode of the show, pretends to encourage a co-actress to sleep with him just to tell her he’s just kidding. Some of these allegations are by actresses who were minors at the time and worked with him on a children’s theater production of “Peter Pan”. The charges include allegations of inappropriate touching and bullying. Ben Ari has denied the allegations.

“Rehearsals” is another great show that is tainted by men’s crappy behavior. But do the real controversies behind it make it impossible to see? Even the woman who first made allegations against Druiges originally wrote that she loved the show, despite how personally triggering it was for her.

The problem with seeing it again after reading the allegations is that for a show that shows such radical honesty, it also finds itself at times too forgiving and empathetic towards toxic men – both Ofer and Tomer, characters who are stand-ins for Druiges even, get a little too much gentleness for their bad behavior.

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Still, it is difficult for me to advise anyone not to watch the program when there is a choice I personally can not make myself.

“Rehearsals” is an excellent TV show that has been full of controversy – and it is, I think, still worth watching. Now that you know all about the claims behind it, you can make an informed choice yourself.

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