Dr. Ruthie Abeliovich- "Vocalic Borderlines and Theatrical Soundscapes: A Study of a Lamentation Recording from Habima’s Performance of The Eternal Jew"

Dr. Ruthie Abeliovich- "Vocalic Borderlines and Theatrical Soundscapes: A Study of a Lamentation Recording from Habima’s Performance of The Eternal Jew" Responding: Prof. Ruth HaCohen
Activity Date: 
Monday, Nov 17, 2014

This colloquium addressed theatre as a ‘place of hearing,’ and offered a dramaturgical interpretation implied by the connotative space and the metaphorical meanings that are created by speech intonation and vocal execution. Focusing on an audio recording of Hanna Rovina’s performance of a lamentation from The Eternal Jew (1919/1923), performed by the Zionist theatre troupe Habima, the talk examined how Rovina’s recitation style resonate the communal processes in which it was formed.
In the recording, Rovina’s vocal recitation of the lamentation presents a Hebrew monologue performed in a melodious rendition associated with Jewish liturgical patterns. The majority of Habima’s audience did not understand the Hebrew language that was being enacted on the stage, however the melody used to recite the lamentation elicited cultural associations that Habima’s audience could interweave to a cohesive interpretation of the stage. As exemplified in the talk, Rovina’s performance created a soundscape that reflected the cultural and social conflicts that occupied her Jewish audience: on one hand, the Hebrew language that was used in the performance illustrated Habima’s determination to embed the Zionist-secular ideals of the Hebrew culture; However, on the other hand, the performance of melodies derived from Jewish liturgy expressed a profound dimension of the Jewish communities in the European diaspora—the sounds and voices of the synagogues that were identified with a cultural and mental world which the Zionist enterprise sought to suppress.