Vital Signs, a play inspired by the shooting at Barnoar—an LGBT youth center in Tel Aviv—in which two young persons were killed seven years ago, has been invited to represent Israel at the International Amateur Theatre Festival of Girona (FITAG) in Spain at the end of August.
The play has received acclaim, yet the Tel Aviv Municipal LGBT Center is having difficulty in raising the money necessary to fund transporting the play to Spain. To that end, a fundraising campaign has been launched the crowdfunding site Headstart. In exchange for financial support of varying amounts, supporters receive tickets to the show, thank-you notes from the cast, postcards, and even a personal conversation with director Haim Tal.
"The festival is funding our stay there, but the plane tickets are unfortunately very expensive: It's the month of August, and prices are sky-high," said Tal to Ynet. "We have 15 crew, cast, and musicians and lighting technicians. We tried to raise the money ourselves, and of course the LGBT Center's budget helps with part of the funding, and we have a bit from ticket sales, but we have people who are pensioners or who were just discharged from the army and who can't fund themselves privately."
The play has been up for about a year at the Galgal ("Wheel") community theatre. The plot examines what happens to youths and their families who, following a public hate crime, must deal with an unintended and unwanted outing. At the premiere, moments before curtain-up, 16-year-old Shira Banki was murdered at the Jerusalem Pride March.
The Galgal Theatre's name is a Hebrew acronym for "Pride without age." It's a unique community theatre comprised of youths from IGY (Israeli Gay Youth), parents of LGBT children, and senior citizens in the community. The troupe has participated in several theatre festivals and won numerous prizes in the past.
Said Tal, "When I thought of the play, it was from the personal stories from Barnoar, and we slowly came to understand that the matter was continuing to resound. From the parade in Be'er Sheva that didn’t' take place, the threats against the march in Jerusalem, Shira's murder, and to the statements from rabbis recently. We want to emphasize that words can kill, and while there's always somebody who pulls the trigger, they have partners (in crime). I think that it's very important that we get to the festival and represent Israel. It's a festival of professional theatre, and the crowd there is varied, not just from the (LGBT) community, so it's even more important that we take part."