THEATER DEPARTMENT DEBUTS WITH FULL-LENGTH PRODUCTION
The Theater Department in early July put on its first full-length production, held at Wadi Salib Auditorium in downtown Haifa. Second-year acting students performed a Hebrew version of Arthur Miller's The Crucible. This play was undoubtedly the main focus of a week of productions and exhibitions that took place to celebrate the Department's completion of two years of academic and artistic work.
> A festive evening marked the official opening of the Theater Design Exhibition of Theater Models and Costumes, designed and executed by theater design majors. All guests were also treated to a brief puppet show and an excerpt by the University's Eskesta Dance Theater, comprised of Ethiopian students.
The University's first puppet show had taken place during the 25th Board of Governors Meeting. That show, as well as the present performance were devised, designed, and built by first- year students taking the Department's course on puppetry. The show displayed the variety in puppetry, both in the design and materials used. Life-size puppets, hand-held ones, and also students wearing masks were used in the story.
The caliber of all aspects the production of The Crucible was notable. The professionalism of the performance demonstrated the wealth of experience available from the Department's faculty. The good relationship between the Theater Department and Haifa Municipal Theater (see Focus Spring 97), which operates Wadi Salib Auditorium, was much in evidence, not only because of the venue of the play. The director, set designer, costume designer, and lighting designer all have a "foot in both camps!" In fact, the Department Chairman, was at this time of writing being considered to take over as director of the Haifa Theater itself.
The maturity of the Israeli student, compared with university theater students in the United States and Britain, for example, was felt throughout the performance. The atmosphere and tensions of the American colonial period, the setting for The Crucible, were admirably conveyed, and the cast gave a well-acted performance that was duly appreciated by the audience, (even by those who knew the play only in its original language.). The smooth running of the production proved the commitment and hard work of all involved in the production, both on and off stage.
From comments heard afterwards, the Theater Department apparently has a dedicated audience for future productions of its plays and puppet shows.