Accelerator 8200 Takes The Very Israeli Theater Troupe ‘Tziporela’ To The International Stage

By Yuval Haimovits, NoCamels September 16, 2013 Comments

Think the myriad Israeli accelerators and incubators have saturated the startup market to the point where they have no where else to go? Think again.

Tziporela, a fringe theater group, has  somehow found itself under the wings of 8200 EISP, a successful Israeli startup accelerator. The accelerator will help the theater group take its show global and Tziporela asked NoCamels to come see its new international show.

We went into the “Tzavta 3” hall in Tel Aviv wondering what could possible attract startup investors to alternative theater and found what seemed to be a set still being built. Some of the cast greeted us personally, one actor was handing out chocolates to the female spectators while another stood at the entrance playing music.

We sat down. An actress sat in the row in front of us, chatting with an audience member, when she suddenly pulled out a mirror and asked him to hold it on front of her so that she could put her makeup on. Other spectators who entered the theater got an assignment of their own – the actors called some of them on stage and asked them to help arrange the set – a line of chairs. The actors were not pleased with the accuracy of the arrangement and repeatedly asked the audience member to be more precise.

Actress Dana Ivgy

Actress Dana Ivgy

Doing theater that they believe in

This is exactly what you’d expect at a Tziporela show, which is now launching an international show – Tziporela Worldwide. The ensemble was founded in 2005 by a group of 10 graduates from the “Nissan Nativ” acting school, who decided to continue working together creating performance art they believe in. During the years in which they’ve been active, they have put on three successful shows: “Akitza Tiv’it” (seven-years running), “Hatkafat Lev,” and “Derech Hagav.”

The ensemble’s show includes theatrical elements which incorporate satire; nonsense (their words); poetry and choreography and deal with a variety of subjects; from relationships to current events and politics. Aside from putting on shows, the group also holds workshops, teaching actors how to work as an ensemble, using humor, movement and music.

Engaging the audience during the show, using creative content and working with other groups is what makes Tziporela an innovation in the field of theater, the group tells NoCamels.

That is what grabbed the attention of 8200 EISP, an accelerator that is home to an impressive network of startups founded by former Israeli soldiers of the IDF’s 8200 unit, an elite technology and intelligence unit. Each startup taken under the accelerator’s wings gets five months of free consulting and guidance.

Theater that is like a startup

“This multi-disciplinary approach of combining innovative startups from different industries is at the heart of the 8200 EISP,” 8200 EISP Co-founder and manager Inbal Arieli says. “We have already helped start-ups from the medical industry, pharma, clean tech, security, mobile, internet, consumer goods, automotive and yes, also theater!”

And while watching the show, it seems that the connection with 8200 EISP and its international expertise has done Tziporela good. The show opens with a recording asking the audience to switch off their cellphones, which is prolonged by the fact that actress Dana Ivgy (daughter of acclaimed Israeli actor Moshe Ivgy) starts debating what “turning off” actually means, and ends abruptly when the cast scares the audience by yelling “boo!” Then the show starts.

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It will leave you wanting more

The performance is intertwined with short sketches, poetry segments, mime, versatile choreography, various lighting fixtures and alternating sets. Watching the show is like watching a strain of random, viral Youtube videos. A mime-sketch where two women are pretending to pluck each-other’s hair; an actress made up to look a half-man, half-woman talking to herself using popular song lyrics; a crazy acrobatic segment where a man tries to get rid of a woman while juggling her around his body – the group excels at presenting everyday themes in an unorthodox way.

Startup theatre

Startup theatre

Yinon Glasner, Program Manager at 8200 EISP, thinks that working withTziporela is not unlike working with every other startup: “Beyond the fun and entertainment factor of having a group like Tziporela in the program, it’s been a real unique experience. Although the theatre troupe is very different from startups we’ve had to date, Tziporela was selected because it operates according to the startup model in every aspect. Tziporela faces the same questions that a tech startup faces.”

He adds: “The main strength of the accelerator is creating a group in which each entrepreneur has something to learn from the others, and something to teach the others. So in addition to the benefit Tziporela may gain from the program, we recognized the size of Tziporela’s potential contribution to the rest of the participants.”

The viewing experience you get from Tziporela’s new international show is extremely fun. The Hebrew-speaking cast handles the English text very well, the segments are refreshing, the show is fast-paced, you smile throughout the show, the audience is treated as part of the show and above all, the cast is talented. So even if you don’t burst into laughter from every sketch, you’re still up for a great experience that will leave you wanting more.

The Tziporela Ensemble next international show will take place on November 4th.

Photos: courtesy

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