J.T. Rogers' award-winning play Oslo was brought to stage in Israel by Ilan Ronen, UTE Member of Honour, at the Beit-Lessin Theater in Tel Aviv. The play recounts, in fictionalized form, the back-channel negotiations leading to the 1990s Oslo Peace Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
Ilan Ronen's production was very well received, with raving reviews. Shai Bar-Yaacov writes in the Yedioth Ahronoth daily newspaper: It is rather symbolic that OSLO's playwright is an American, being it the attempt to follow the secretly held negotiation process between Israelis and Palestinians. Similar to that process itself, which had been a mind- creation of two highly optimistic and visionary Norwegians, the play was written, in the aftermath of that challenging process, by a skillful American. He chose for his tale the precise mixture of tension and humor, petty emotional moments alongside smashing epochal ones – nevertheless, he lacked that deep involvement in the conflicts that the agreement has generated. He rather watches it from afar – that is his strength, and his weakness, as well. In its center, there is the Norwegian couple, Terje Larson and Mona Juul, who had invented the secret channel, and functioned as its patrons, while avoiding strictly to become mediators, and rather made the parties involved break their heads over it by themselves. Their shrunk egos seemed here as the parents of the big triumph. The exciting and glamorous production, directed by Ilan Ronen, transfers the thrilling story in a real vivid tempo. I would like to compliment all the actors, and above all Liron Baraness and Limor Goldstein, who project the complexity of the duo protagonists, how to outlive the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and yet to vehemently maintain their neutrality. In today's polar and mistrustful atmosphere, their apologetic speech that ends the evening, as it tries to lift up their endeavor's value, has transmitted a grand message of hope. (translated from Hebrew)
An equally warm reception received the production Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf, directed by Ilan Ronen at Habima Theater. Edward Albee's well renowned play about family, conventions and American society is brought to stage in a new version. Remembering Edward Albee's love of music and his confession that "I found that when my plays work well, they are similar to musical compositions" and the fact that in his classic play he gave "directors and actors an accurate, weight-bearing, rhythmic and powerful score", Maya Nahum Shahal writes on Calcalist: The excellent production that the director Ilan Ronen is currently performing at the Habimah Theater responds to these musical challenges. Ronen directed a precise, thought-provoking performance, flavored with humor, instinctive, on the edge of the disturbing, which becomes moments of crazy dance thanks to the design movement and music of Yotam Kelo white. The Hebrew translation of the mufti is also made by a man who understands the music well, Dori Parnes, and it provides the actors with the most crushing sentences there are. (translated from Hebrew)