14 June / 17:00
Opera and Ballet Theatre

Photo by Gady Dagon

Choreographers, Directors, Costumes, Set, Soundtrack and wigs designers: Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak
Lighting Designer: Yoann Tivoli
Assistant Costume Designer: Gila Lahat
Musical Arrangements: Zahi Patish and Avshalom Pollak
Co-production of: Haifa Municipal Theatre, Masion de la Danse, Lyon,
Curtain up - International exposure 1999 in Suzanne Dellal Center
World premiere: Masion de la Danse, Lyon, France November 1999

In performance “Oyster” Pinto and Pollak created a fantastic circus-world of wandering street acrobats and oddly beautiful creatures, combining the dreamlike qualities of Fellini and the keen intellect of Pina Bausch. Performers and dancers in doll-like make-up, spiky blonde wigs, and tutus alternately become puppets or puppeteers – in one delightful scene, a girl in a bouffant dress becomes a ringing bell. The eclectic score spans opera (Pagliacci), tango (Piazzolla), Harry James Yma Sumac and Tuvan throat singers. Pinto's unique movement encompasses ballet, contemporary, mime and acrobatics. This is a dazzling work that The Village Voice has described as, "Part surreal vaudeville, part circus, and part toy store after midnight. Whimsical… a delight for the eye."

Critics and press claim the influence of famous American filmmaker and writer Tim Burton on this dance theater work, this applies in particular to the book of poetry titled “The Melancholy Adventures of Oyster Boy and Other Stories,” written and illustrated by Burton. However, the creators of the show did not draw inspiration directly from Burton’s works, and if “Oyster” can remind someone of his freaky movie characters, the dance itself is not dark in the way Burton’s tales usually are. Instead, there’s something deeply touching. And, the giddy inventiveness would make youngsters giggles with delight instead of fright.

Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak founded their Dance Company more than 20 years ago. Together they have been involved in a variety of artistic endeavors - mainly the creation, direction, choreography and design of unique, award – winning, dance performances for their company of 12 dancers-actors based in Tel Aviv. Their work has been presented and acclaimed in Israel and in many other countries around the world.

Inbal Pinto (Artistic Director/Choreographer/Director) began her formal dance training at age 13. She studied graphic arts at The Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem, and worked as a graphic designer for her army service. As a dancer, she first joined The BatSheva Ensemble and was promoted to the senior BatSheva Company. In 1990, she began her career as a choreographer. She was invited to The American Dance Festival to take part in its International Choreographers Program in both 1997 and 1998. In 2000, she won a Bessie - the New York Dance and Performance Award for her creation “Wrapped.” Pinto also created the choreography for theatrical works, such as The Chairs and Romeo and Juliet. In 2000, she was given Israel’s Ministry of Culture Award for Dance and the Tel Aviv Municipal Award for Artistic achievements.

Avshalom Pollak (Artistic Director/Choreographer/Director) was born in Israel in 1970. Being the son of the well-known Israeli actor Yossi Pollak, he spent time observing his father from backstage, developing an understanding early on of the commitment and drive needed to create a high-quality theatrical experience for an audience. He was trained as a classical actor and graduated from The Nissan Nativ Drama School in Tel-Aviv. He has acted in a large number of films and television programs as well as many theatrical plays at The Habimah National Theater, The Cameri Theater, Gesher Theater and The Haifa Municipal Theater. Roles have included Romeo in Romeo and Juliet; Casssio in Othello; Valere in The Miser; Tuzenbach in Three Sisters, Phillip in Orphans and many others. Pollak has got Bessie Award (2000), Israel Theater Academy award for “Oyster” (2000), The Landau Award for the Arts of the Stage (2004) and two awards given by The Ministry of Education and Culture.

“Watching “Oyster,” an evening-length piece created by Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak, the word that comes to mind is “transcendence.” The dancers move like creatures from another planet, but they uncover truths about human nature”
Kate Mattingly, Washington Post

“By the end of Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak’s ingenious Spoleto production of “Oyster,” it is hard to distinguish between what is absurd and what is normal. The vision of the two artists is truly original and results in delightful whimsy that has multiple layers of emotion and subtext”
Eliza Ingle, The Post & Currier

“Exquisite and sensational, ingenious and ironic, fabulous funny and quite gloriously unique: attempting to describe the magical experience of Oyster soon places you in danger of running out of adjectives”
Sophie Gorman, Irish Independent

Platonov Arts Festival thanks Embassy of Israel in Russia for supporting the organization of performance “Oyster” in Voronezh

Official website Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak Dance Company

Official website Embassy of Israel in Russia