While we wait impatiently for season two of Israel Story to start up (yes, it’s coming, later this spring!), fans living in and around New York City will soon have a chance to see a live incarnation of the radio program and podcast. The Israel Story team is coming to town for two performances of “Herzl 48,” their new multimedia show that brings stories to life through live collage animation, film, music, and radio storytelling.
The idea for “Herzl 48” came from a popular episode in the first Hebrew season of Israel Story. For that episode, Israel Story producers traveled to a very common yet entirely symbolic street address all over the country – 48 Herzl Street. Herzl streets are, of course, named after Theodore Herzl, considered the father of Zionism, and yes, “48” refers to the year the state of Israel was founded. At each stop, from Kiryat Shmoneh in the north all the way to Dimona in the south, the Israel Story producers knocked on doors to find out who lives and works there. What do they sound like, and look like? And what stories do they hold?
For the upcoming live show, they revisited some of those locations, catching up with old characters and meeting new ones, and began exploring new ways to tell their stories on stage while remaining audio-centric. The result, I’m told, is a variety of visual and sonic media that provides a window into the eclectics lives of Russian, Arab, Orthodox, secular, and other Israelis.
The first show will be Sunday, April 26, at JCC Manhattan as part of the UWS Celebrates Israel festival—advanced registration required. The second performance is Friday, May 1, at UnionDocs in Brooklyn. Tickets are on sale now.
Meantime, if by chance you missed any Israel Story episodes, you can find them all here. We especially love this one, about an Israeli buffalo farmer in Wisconsin, and this one, about a modest fellow who makes a splash at a whistling competition in Hebei Province, China.
Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.