For years, Israelis have had a profound impact on Berlin’s cultural scene. Now there’s a festival celebrating their work: the ID Festival, founded by Israeli-born, Berlin-dwelling pianist and composer Ohad Ben-Ari.
For its inaugural year, the weekend-long event gathers more than 100 Israeli artists living in Germany. Musicians, dancers, theatre makers, visual artists and videographers will dive into big questions of freedom, diversity and identity, alongside discussions – “philosophical cabarets” – on topics ranging from Jewish mysticism to the kibbutz.
Things kick off with a concert by the ID Festival Orchestra, comprised of Israeli musicians from top symphonies across Germany. Led by Guy Braunstein, former concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic, they’ll play music by Beethoven, Vivaldi, Bartok and others (Oct 16, 19:30).
A promising premiere is I know I’m Ugly, But I Glitter in the Dark, which director Sivan Ben Yeshai bills as an homage to both Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice and Israeli author Yaakov Shabtai’s stream-of-consciousness novel Past Perfect. It’s a one-man show about an Israeli immigrant in Germany, holed up in his room and carrying out his whole life on the Internet: working out, earning money, making art, searching for love (Oct 16, 22:00, Oct 17, 19:00 and 22:00, Oct 18, 19:00 and 21:00).
Set in equally close quarters, Save Your Love Part I follows a couple in a teensy-tiny Berlin apartment as they wrangle with problems of love and money – and occasionally burst into surreal comedy. The show, created by Arièl Nil Levy, Hila Golan und Niva Dloomy, was a hit when it premiered at Theaterdiscounter in 2013 (Oct 17, 16:00 and 22:00).
Close out the festival with bodieSLANGuage, developed by Berlin duo matanicola (choreographers Nicola Mascia and Matan Zamir) and sign language interpreter/performance artist Gal Naor (stage name: the progressive wave). The piece unites eight deaf and hearing performers with a blend of sign language, contemporary dance and everyday gesture (Oct 18, 19:00).
ID FESTIVAL Oct 16-18 | Radialystem V, Holzmarktstr. 33, Friedrichshain, S-Bhf Ostbahnhof, full schedule at idfestival.de