When Shiri Maimon walks on stage at Habima Theater during the musical "The Troupe," mumbling sounds are heard in the crowd and quickly turn to wild accolades. And when she quivers while singing, not a single eye remained dry.
She may be the shortest of the troupe members, but she is overflowing with presence that erases all remains of her short stature, just like she the impression that she made at last year's Eurovision competition, with "The Silence that Remains," that won the highly regarded fourth place. She has "star quality," that evasive and captivating thing which real stars possess.
Shiri Maimon (Photo: Meir hacohen)
In light of Maimon's status in contemporary Israeli pop culture, i.e. Idol era, it is not surprising that her name appears at the top of the credits list of "The Troupe", which is based on the cult 1970's movie by Avi Nesher. But because of the tabloids and gossip columns, the quarrels and rivalries of the military musical troupe described in the musical play pale in comparison to the stories bubbling behind the scenes of the production.
Rumor has it that Maimon behaved like a diva. It was claimed that she secludes herself from her colleagues, which had even boycotted her at a certain point. Maimon brushes the rumors aside and denies them completely.
"I, so, did not behave like a diva. At the outset, it was important for me to be en par with everyone at the production. There was never any boycott. In 'The Troupe' there is an amazing group and I have made new friends. The atmosphere is a lot of fun. Of course, that just like in a real military musical troupe and in musical groups in general, there is tension and scuffles over solos, but there was nothing that made me feel uncomfortable."
"The troupe" cast (Photo: Eyal Landsman)
"Some tried to stir a fight between me and my colleagues at the show, and had claimed that I was a loner that sat on the sidelines. These false stories really upset the playwright Anat Gov and the director Ilan Ronen who had encouraged me and confirmed that this was not the case. Because I am in the spotlight, I attract fire. I really do not understand why I should justify myself after all ? let the people think what they want."
At the show, you play Truth or Dare, and your character is asked: "What is the dirtiest thing you have done to succeed." And what troubles have you stirred in order to succeed?
"Never in my life have I done anything dirty in order to be successful. In the show, my character does create mischief and plots, but in reality I am not like that. There were times when I felt guilty and uncomfortable for being ambitious and diligent, and that I wanted to make it. It took me some time to realize that there is nothing evil about that desire. Nonetheless, I do not think that I need to elbow, step on or run over other people to become successful."
Maimon says that she is concerned with her privacy, and stays away as much as possible from PR events.
"I try to remain on the sidelines. Lots of "A Star is born" (Israeli talent show) graduates have become a-dime-a-dozen- celebrities, and it's not the right move. It's a shame, because they are talented singers. I like having company, but after you are with people all day long, peace and quiet are both important to me."
Ninet and me
She has had enough with questions about her relationship with Ninet Tayeb, who had defeated her at the first finals of the show.
"I wonder if this topic will haunt me for many more years or it will slowly fade away," Maimon ponders. "Will they always ask her about me and me about her? Everything between us is perfect, just fine. We are very busy and barely see each other, but when that happens, than there is always a kiss and a hug."
Maimon also cannot bare any more harassment on the issue of her celebrated bosom, a topic that has grown in light of the generous cleavage she adorned at the Eurovision.
"It's a lie that I had silicon implanted. It's just that the dress at the Eurovision wouldn't close and had it all accentuated. When I saw the pictures I said: 'who would believe me that it's not silicon?' If I would have had an implant done, I wouldn't be ashamed of it."
Attention worldwide readers
Immersed the great celebration of "The Troupe," Maimon also finds time for shows and prepares for the production of her second album that will include songs she wrote and composed by herself.
"In my writings, I focus on the relationship between him and her, and the painful aspects in relationships. Although I am in a good relationship (knock wood), I had undergone a few things in my short life, and I have memories and even scars. You keep some scars from every relationship."
And, hush-hush, she has been also working on an international project.
"It happened following the Eurovision, but I cannot reveal anything yet," she says. "I definitely fantasize about an international career, that's what fascinates me."