Mittelpunkt, Hillel 1949-
MITTELPUNKT, Hillel 1949-
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Gvanim, 29 Bar-Kochva St., P.O.B. 11138, 61111, Tel Aviv, Israel 63427; fax: 03-5283648.
CAREER: Plawright and director. Tel Aviv University, Israel, theatre professor. Beersheba Theatre, Israel, writer-in-residence; affiliated with Haifa Municiple Theatre.
AWARDS, HONORS: Three best Israeli play of the year awards, for Driver-Painter, The House Mother, and Gorodish.
Me Tehom: mahazeh bi-shete ma'arakhot (title means "Groundwater"), ha-Kibuts ha-me'uhad (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1979.
Makolet (title means "Shop"; produced in Habima, Israel, 1982), Or-'am (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1982.
Buba (produced in Haifa, Israel, 1982), Or-'am (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1982, published as Buba, Modern International Drama (New York, NY), 1987.
Perud Zmani (title means "Temporary Separation"; produced in Habima, Israel, 1985), Or-'am (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1985.
Nehag, Tsayeret (produced in Bee-Sheva, Israel, 1988), Or-'am (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1988, published as Driver, Painter, Modern International Drama (New York, NY), 1993.
The Loved Ones, Beit Zvi, 1992.
Ahim La-Neshek (title means "Brothers in Arms"; produced in Beer Sheva, Israel, 1992), Kinneret (Or Yehuda, Israel), 1992.
Em ha-bayit (title means, "The Housemother"; produced in Beer Sheva, 1993), Or-'am (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1993.
Gorodish: hay-yom ha-sehvi'I (produced in Beer Sheva, 1993), Or-'am (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1993.
Ha-Sahkan: Gan 'eden darom (title means "The Actor; South of Paradise"), Gevanim (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1998.
Madrikh la-metayel be-varshah, Gevanim (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1999.
SIDELIGHTS: Hillel Mittelpunkt is a prolific Israeli playwright who writes in Hebrew. His plays focus on Israeli life and include high levels of tension and conflict. For example, in his play Gan eden darom ("South of Paradise"), Mittelpunkt reveals the pathos and damaged lives of numerous patrons as they come and go in a small coffee shop located in a forgotten southern Israeli town.
Mittelpunkt's plays also often have historical themes. For example, in his play Gorodish, Mittelpunkt presents a quasi-documentary view of Shmuel Gonen, an Israeli general who gained famed during the Six-Day War of 1967 but fell out of favor during the Israeli army's failure in the initial stages of the Yom Kipper War in 1973. The play begins with a comic view of Gorodish (Gonen's real-life nickname) and his overzealous emphasis on discipline. The play soon turns serious when one of Gorodish's soldiers commits suicide after having a breakdown. From this point on, the character of the soldier, who was a thoughtful mathematician and intellectual, remains in the play as a ghost. The play also comments on the state of Israel over the two decades following the Yom Kippur War. Commenting on a performance of the play at the Cameri Theatre in New York, reviewer Dan Isaac noted in Back Stage, "Playwright Mittelpunkt directed his own play, underlining well-timed dramatic explosions." Isaac also noted that the play "must have been written explicitly to provoke and enrage."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Backstage, June 16, 1995, Dan Isaac, review of Gorodish, p. 44.
Modern Hebrew Literature, spring-summer, 1984, Gideon Ofrat, "Modern Hebrew Drama: Southward Ho!—To a Dead End: Two Recent Plays by Hillel Mittelpunkt," pp. 32-42.
New York Times, May 19, 1995, Ben Brantley, review of Gorodish, p. C3.*