In this article Daphna Ben-Shaul explores politically engaged Israeli and Palestinian site-specific re-enactments that pursue what she terms a 'performative return'. This includes performed aesthetic and political re-enactments of real-life events, which bring about a re-conceptualization of reality. Three contemporary cases of return are discussed with regard to the historical precedent of Evreinov's 1920 The Storming of the Winter Palace. The first is an activist, unauthorized return to the village of Iqrit in northern Israel by a group of young Palestinians, whose families were required to leave their homes temporarily in the 1948 war, and have since not been allowed to return. The second is Kibbutz, a project by the Empty House Group, which involved an unauthorized temporary settlement on an abandoned site in Jerusalem. The third is Civil Fast, a twenty-four-hour action by Public Movement, which was hosted mainly on a central public square in Jerusalem, integrated into the urban flow. The article draws attention to the fine line these actions straddle between political activism and aesthetic order, and explores their critical and performative effectiveness. Daphna Ben-Shaul is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Theatre Arts, Tel Aviv University. Her current research on site-specific performance in Israel is funded by a grant from the Israeli Science Foundation. She is the editor of a book on the Israeli art and performance group Zik (Keter, 2005), and has published articles in major journals.
- Israeli theatre
- Palestinian theatre
- political and social activism
- right of return