Aggression and Surrender was conceived as a touring street performance collectively created by the Intercultural Performance Research Ensemble (IPRE) after a series of physical theater workshops in Israel. The multi-national ensemble of eighteen performers would collect the audience during an elaborate procession through the center of a city or town and lead them to a square or park containing a bomb shelter. Following a ritual of surrendering themselves to the audience, the actors would aggressively organize the spectators according to the army issued “profile numbers” found on every Israeli identity card. Then, at the door to the bomb shelter, audiences would be lined up and, after surrendering their ID cards, led underground for a ritual performance happening involving non-verbal interactive explorations of I / THOU. After songs, followed by silence, all would emerge together, reclaim their identity [card] and enjoy live music and dance above ground in the square or park.
This hugely ambitious project’s full potential has yet to be realized. During workshops conducted in three cities an ensemble was selected and work began in earnest. Performers from nine countries speaking fourteen languages formed the IPRE. Our preliminary work was shared with other performing artists in workshops in three cities. In cooperation with the office for new immigrant artists hundreds performers from all over the world were invited to our workshops. One month before we were to begin rehearsals on the piece, with funds raised and more committed, bureaucrats in [then Prime Minister] Benyamin Netanyahu’s Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport quietly censored the project by blocking the LEC’s access to the bomb shelters.
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