BOSTON – In Israel, the multi-talented Dror Keren delights audiences with his award-winning, family-themed plays and likable personality. Keren hopes to raise the same enthusiasm in Boston during his two-week artist-in-residency with the Israeli Stage Company March 17-31.
Although Keren is famous in Israel and other countries, he has rarely performed in the US. He’s Israeli Stage’s sixth artist-in-residence, and the most famous from Israeli theater to come here.
In Boston, Keren will offer the opportunity to participate in cross-disciplinary, multi-generational programs at lectures he’ll deliver at Bunker Hill Community College, Brandeis University, and Boston University, along with free presentations and performances open to the public.
He’ll also present a staged reading and conduct a post-show dialogue at the world premiere of his touching, middle-aged dramatic play, “What Life Wants,” which explores the labyrinth of the family unit, and determines what might have been. Keren, who will turn 55 next month, has four children.
Known for his razor-sharp wit, Keren showcases all it means to be an Israeli, highlighting “the dilemma of living and supporting an occupation, acknowledging the need for a Jewish homeland as a second-generation Holocaust survivor, and the struggles.”
Born in April 1964 in Afula, Israel, Keren graduated from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London. But it was when he was 15 and attended a drama summer camp that he found his calling.
“That’s where my career began,” he said.
He’s a three-time winner of the Israeli Academy of Film and Television award for best actor. His play, “On the Grill,” received the Best Original Play award in Israeli theater.
Keren has been to Boston only once before, visiting his 20-year-old son, Omri, a student at Berklee School of Music, whom Keren touts as a guitar genius.
He’s very excited about his two-week residency here. Keren’s enthusiasm is matched by Israeli Stage Company Artistic Director Guy Ben Aharon, who is responsible for bringing Keren to Boston.
“We met a few years back, when he was the lead actor in ‘To the End of the Land,’” said Ben Aharon. “Over the years, I’ve seen him act, direct, and perform in the adaptation of David Grossman’s award-winning novel, ‘A Horse Walks Into A Bar,’ for which he won awards for his acting and production.”
Two years ago, Ben Aharon told Keren about Israeli Stage’s residency program. Keren was working on his play, “What Life Wants,” about parenting. “I asked if he needed a workshop for it … and he replied it would be especially helpful before it’s finalized and sharpened in Israel,” said Ben Aharon.
“I’m looking forward with excitement to see how American audiences will respond to my [new] play,” Keren said. “It’s always fascinating for me to see that people come, react, or be moved by something that was written in a different language and comes from a different culture. That’s what makes theater so wonderful. It’s a bridge between people. I think it gives us different kinds of mirrors to see something different from your original place – different from what you know and are familiar with.”
“What Life Wants,” at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 30, at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Ave. To register for the free event, and for times and locations of Keren’s other appearances, visit www.israelistage.com.