Motti Lerner

Motti Lerner

Playwright and screenwriter, born in Israel in 1949, teaches playwriting at the Kibbutz College in Tel Aviv. Most of his plays and films deal with political issues. Among his plays are: "Kastner", "Pangs of the Messiah", "Paula", and "Pollard", all produced by the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv; "Exile in Jerusalem" and "Passing The Love of Women" at...
Playwright and screenwriter, born in Israel in 1949, teaches playwriting at the Kibbutz College in Tel Aviv. Most of his plays and films deal with political issues. Among his plays are: "Kastner", "Pangs of the Messiah", "Paula", and "Pollard", all produced by the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv; "Exile in Jerusalem" and "Passing The Love of Women" at Habima National Theatre, "Autumn" at the Beit Lessin Theatre, Tel Aviv, "Hard Love" at the Municipal Theatre in Haifa, and "The Hastening of The End" in the Khan Theatre in Jerusalem. His play "The Murder of Isaac" was produced at Heilbron Theatre in Germany (1999) in Centerstage Theatre in Baltimore (2006), and at Tel Aviv University Theatre (2013), "Benedictus" was produced by Golden Thread Theatre in San Francisaco (2007) and Theater J (2009), "In the Dark" by Chingari Theatre in Delhi (2011) , "Paulus" by Silk Road Rising theater in Chicago (2013), and "The Admission" in Theater J in Washington DC (2014). He wrote the screenplays for the films: "Loves in Betania", "The Kastner Trial", "Bus Number 300", "Egoz", the 12 episodes of the TV drama series "The Institute", "A Battle in Jerusalem", "The Silence of the Sirens", Altalena, "Spring 1941" and "Kapo in Jerusaelm". He is a recipient of the best play award (1985), and the Israeli Motion Picture Academy award for the best TV drama in 1995 and in 2004. He won the Prime Minister’s of Israel Award for his creative work (1994) and the Landau prize for the performing arts (2014). His plays have been produced in the US, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, South Africa, Australia, Canada and India. His book According To Chekhov - on Chekhov's writing method - was published in Israel in 2011 and in the US in 2014. His book "The Playwright's Purpose" will be published in 2015. He taught playwriting at Duke University, North Carolina 1997, Knox College, Illinois 2005, 2007, 2012 and was a fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 2010.

Plays

  • After The War
    The play tells the story of an Israeli concert pianist returning to Tel Aviv following an 18 year absence to visit his son who just fought at the 2006 Lebanon War. When he is asked by the Israeli Philharmonic to replace a pianist who boycotted it, he uses the opportunity to try and reconcile with his family over the fallout caused from the sharp political differences between them that led to his long exile. In...
    The play tells the story of an Israeli concert pianist returning to Tel Aviv following an 18 year absence to visit his son who just fought at the 2006 Lebanon War. When he is asked by the Israeli Philharmonic to replace a pianist who boycotted it, he uses the opportunity to try and reconcile with his family over the fallout caused from the sharp political differences between them that led to his long exile. In spite of his efforts he discovers that his wounded family detests his worldwide success and still rejects him and his political vision.
  • At Night's End
    A young soldier comes home for his brother's wedding in the middle of a war. He suffers post-traumatic stress disorder. He tries to hide it. His family members are unware of his mental condition until he is unable to control his anger and fear. Even then, there is very little they can do in order to help him. The night of the celebration has turned into a nightmare.
  • Benedictus
    A political thriller that takes place 72 hours before an American attack on the nuclear facilities in Iran. An Israeli arms dealer who was born in Iran tries to rescue his sister from Teheran and offers arms to an Iranian politician, who struggles to postpone the American attack. First produced by Goldenthread Theatre in San Francisco (2007). Also produced at the LATC in Los Angeles (2007) and Theatre J in DC (...
    A political thriller that takes place 72 hours before an American attack on the nuclear facilities in Iran. An Israeli arms dealer who was born in Iran tries to rescue his sister from Teheran and offers arms to an Iranian politician, who struggles to postpone the American attack. First produced by Goldenthread Theatre in San Francisco (2007). Also produced at the LATC in Los Angeles (2007) and Theatre J in DC (2009) Developed in collaboration with Ralph Blasting, Mahmood Karimi Hakak, Roberta Levitow, Daniel Michaelson, Torange Yeghiazarian
  • Pangs of the Messiah
    A political drama about the right-wing settlers in the West Bank who oppose the peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and blow up the holy mosques in Jerusalem to sabotage it. Produced by the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv (1987). A new version of this play was produced at Theatre J in Washington DC (2007) and won the nomination for the Helen Hayes best play award (2008). It was also produced in...
    A political drama about the right-wing settlers in the West Bank who oppose the peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and blow up the holy mosques in Jerusalem to sabotage it. Produced by the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv (1987). A new version of this play was produced at Theatre J in Washington DC (2007) and won the nomination for the Helen Hayes best play award (2008). It was also produced in Chicago, Cleveland, Atlanta and New York.
  • Hard Love
    A play about a secular writer and his ultra-Orthodox ex-wife who are trying to re-marry after twenty years of divorce, but discover that despite oif their strong desires they have changed so much that living together is impossible. Produced by Haifa Municipal Theatre (2003), by Theatre Or in Durham, NC in 2005, by Bimah Theatre in Berlin (2006), by The Jewish Theatre of the South in Atlanta (2008), by Old...
    A play about a secular writer and his ultra-Orthodox ex-wife who are trying to re-marry after twenty years of divorce, but discover that despite oif their strong desires they have changed so much that living together is impossible. Produced by Haifa Municipal Theatre (2003), by Theatre Or in Durham, NC in 2005, by Bimah Theatre in Berlin (2006), by The Jewish Theatre of the South in Atlanta (2008), by Old Mutual Theatre in Johannesburg, South Africa (2008), Teatron Theatre in Toronto (2010)
  • Pollard
    A political drama about the scandal created by the Israeli intelligence services that hired an American Jew employed by the American navy to spy for Israel, and it explores the special relationship between Israel and American Jewry as reflected in this affair. The play was produced at the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv in 1995 and at Teatron Theater in Toronto in 2011.
  • Autumn
    A drama about a doctor who immigrated to pre-state Israel in 1896 to become a farmer. After 30 years of building and planting he discovers that he doesn't feel at home. He falls in love with his former lover’s daughter, and tries to convince her to escape the country with him, but is caught by his wife and children who kill him to stop the affair. Originally produced by the Beit Lessin Theatre, Tel Aviv (...
    A drama about a doctor who immigrated to pre-state Israel in 1896 to become a farmer. After 30 years of building and planting he discovers that he doesn't feel at home. He falls in love with his former lover’s daughter, and tries to convince her to escape the country with him, but is caught by his wife and children who kill him to stop the affair. Originally produced by the Beit Lessin Theatre, Tel Aviv (1996) and later at the Heilbronn Theatre, Germany (1996)
  • Paulus
    The surrealistic tragedy of St. Paul the Apostle who tried to create a Universalist religion in the first century C.E, and found himself forced to separate from Judaism and to establish a new religion, hoping to create a new civilization that abolish tribalism and adopt universalism. Produced by Silk Road Theater in Chicago (2013)
  • The Murder of Isaac
    Twelve inmates in a closed ward in a mental hospital for soldiers sufferring acute PTSD presenting a cabaret about the assassination of Yitzhak (Isaac) Rabin, Israel’s former prime minister following his peace negotiations with the Palestinians. In a show they can't control they explore the infrastructure of Israeli society and present the deep internal conflicts that led to this tragic assassination....
    Twelve inmates in a closed ward in a mental hospital for soldiers sufferring acute PTSD presenting a cabaret about the assassination of Yitzhak (Isaac) Rabin, Israel’s former prime minister following his peace negotiations with the Palestinians. In a show they can't control they explore the infrastructure of Israeli society and present the deep internal conflicts that led to this tragic assassination. Produced by the Municipal Theatre of Heilbronn, Germany (1999), and by Centerstage Theater in Baltimore, US in 2006.
  • Passing The Love of Women
    A play inspired by “Two” a short story by Isaac Bashevis Singer (written in collaboration with his son, Israel Zamir) about two yeshiva students in 19th century Poland who discover that they are homosexual, and one of them has to disguise himself as a woman so he can live together with his lover and even marry him. First Produced by Habima National Theatre, Tel Aviv (2003). Also produced at Theatre “J” in Washington DC (2004)
  • The Admission
    a play about memory and denial in the context of what Israelis call their "War of Independence" and the Palestinians call their "Nakba". The play is set in Haifa in 1988 and portrays two families, one Jewish one Palestinian. Some of the families' members are trying to reveal the events that took place during the 1948 war between Jews and Palestinians, hoping that a new discourse will...
    a play about memory and denial in the context of what Israelis call their "War of Independence" and the Palestinians call their "Nakba". The play is set in Haifa in 1988 and portrays two families, one Jewish one Palestinian. Some of the families' members are trying to reveal the events that took place during the 1948 war between Jews and Palestinians, hoping that a new discourse will heal their wounds. Some of them are trying to deny these events and bury them deep in the ground, hoping that peaceful co-existence will heal their wounds. Produced by Theater J in Washington DC in March 2014.