About the Production
"It Sounds Better in Amharic" was initially developed during the two co-writers' service in the theatre division of the Israeli army. The ingenious blending of two simple genres-storytelling and stand-up Comedy was retained when, with Nephesh Theatre, three different versions were developed: a version for open box office and general audiences and a version for schools and institutions. This third English version includes translated material from the two other versions as well as about thirty percent new material devised for sensibilities abroad.
"It Sounds Better in Amharic" is a moving, personal account of a 700 kilometer journey by foot from Ethiopia to a refugee camp in Sudan, and then finally flying to the holy land.
Nostalgic memories of life in Ethiopia are mixed with hilarious perspectives towards the adjustments that must be made when moving to modern day Israel. This highly acclaimed production has been presented over 400 times in Hebrew. In English it has toured throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Plans are underway for a production in Russian.
About the Creators
Co-writer and actor- Yossi Vassa
Yossi Vassa was born in Ethiopia, studied Theatre at the University of Haifa and served in the theatre section of the Israeli army. His one man show "It Sounds Better in Amharic"has been presented over 700 times in Hebrew and 150 times in English throughout North America and Europe. His play "One of a Kind" which he also wrote and stars in has garnered many awards and has been presented over 200 times in Hebrew and has been translated into English, In May 2008 it will play on Broadway and embark on a coast to coast North American tour. He has produced, written and starred in 3 movies for the Ethiopian community.Acting for movies include Dan Wollman's "Foreign Woman" and on TVin the prime time weekly program Israel Live"
Co-writer and director- Shai Ben Atar
Shai Ben Attar was born in Israel 1979 studied at the Telma Yellin Arts School and served in the theatre division of the Israeli army. He wrote (with Yossi Vassa)and directed the one man show "It Sounds Better in Amharic" as well as "One of a Kind" which won first prize at Haifa's International Childrens Theatre Festival as well as Best Play and Director at the ASSSITEJ National Awards for Recognition. His play "More Hana than Laslo" won the Best Entertainment show in 2008. Shai has also worked as Head Writer for Israeli Television First Channel, for the Educational TV channel and currently consults as an actors coach for RESHET TV as well as writing and directing a show for stand up comic Lital Shwartz
Translator-Producer- Howard Rypp
Howard Rypp was born in Winnipeg, Canada. He graduated from York University and made aliyah to Israel in 1983. in addition to "It Sounds Better in Amharic", Howard has translated a variety of Hebrew plays and films into English. He toured the world doing the simultaneous translation for the Ensemble Itim's acclaimed biblical epic "Ve Yomer Ve Yolech". As Artistic Director of the Nephesh Theatre he has produced over 80 plays, 60 of which he directed.
Design and Execution- Noam Toplian
Noam Toplian was born in Israel and studied at the Telma Yallin Theatre Arts Department. Other works include- "The Bible and Me", "Alon's Smile" and "Sizwe Banzi is Dead"
Shai Ben Atar
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