One of
a Kind
"One of a Kind-And Argay" was originally produced in Hebrew for the Haifa
International Childrens' Theatre Festival in 2005 and garnered prizes as Best
play, Best Director, Most Popular Play and Best Actor and Actress. It was
presented throughout Israel by the National Youth Theatre (Teatron Artzi Le
Noar). In 2006 it further received the ASSITEJ National awards for excellence
as Best Production, Best Playwright, Most Promising Actor and Best Set Design.
This production which comprises one of the only African theatre ensembles
in the world, has become the most acclaimed Ethiopian ensemble in Israel.
It has become a major cultural institution In Israel, and a leader among the
very few authentic manifestations of Ethiopian-Jewish culture world-wide.
The play depicts the modern day story of a 700 kilometer journey by foot
of Ethiopian Jews between 1982-1986, from Ethiopian villages to Sudanese
refugee camps, and finally the arrival to their new homeland in Israel- being
the first Black Jews to inhabit the country. The story follows a family who
hears rumors of the secret operation to walk by foot from their village, to
Jerusalem in Israel. Through this family’s physical and spiritual journey to
Jerusalem, we experience their struggle for identity, their dreams, and the
incredible sacrifice made to achieve them.
"One of a Kind-And Argay" is a story of Diaspora yet simultaneously both an
African and Israeli tale- telling of community, journey, and the rebuilding of a
home in a new land. It touches the hearts of children and adults alike and
reminds us, no matter who we are, or where we come from- the importance
of family, home, faith, and dedication.
The Nephesh Theatre was founded in 1978 by Howard Rypp and Gabriel
Emanuel and was the only professional Jewish theatre operating in Canada
at that time. After staging over 40 theatrical and television productions in
Canada, the company base was relocated to Israel.
Now celebrating 30 years of activity -the over 80 Nephesh Theatre productions
reflect a plurality of beliefs, depicting different communities within Israeli society
that must develop a common language and achieve a mutual respect.
This current production of "One of a Kind-And Argay" is a natural continuation
of the successful collaboration of the creators with their previous production
"It Sounds Better in Amharic" which has been presented 800 times in Hebrew
and 150 times in English.
The Nephesh Theatre presents over 300 performances a year in Israel and
tours throughout North America and Europe, presenting close to 100
performances annually abroad. Its current repertory comprises 12 plays in
Hebrew that explore Jewish themes and social issues, which aim to simultaneously
entertain and educate. It also offers a repertory of 6 plays in English, which
either have been translated from the Hebrew repertory or have been
developed especially to explore relevant issues that Israel shares with the
In 2009 Nephesh Theatre will initiate and produce an International Jewish
Theatre Festival and Conference in Israel.
General and Artistic Director - Howard Rypp
Educational Director and Dramaturge - Beatrice Hal
Office Managers - Keren Toplian and Nilly Nadav
Marketing Abroad - Shelly Guggenheim and Yarden Schneider
Marketing in Israel - Vardit Avidan, Ram Hadad, Tsipi Lichtenstein
Legal - Jonothan Weingarten
Accounting - Ori Eliav
Chairman of the Board - Professor Menachem Fisch
Board of Directors - Lee Perlman, Ehud Ben Sa'adia, Dr. Shmuel Berger,
Gabriel Emanuel, Hadass Laor Asher and Anat Brot.
The Nephesh Theatre is a professional theatre and an active member of the
Association of Jewish Theatre, ASSITEJ and ELA.
Nephesh Theatre is a non-profit organization and receives annual operating
funding from Israel's Ministry of Culture and the City of Tel Aviv.
One of
a Kind
for the North American tour of "One of a Kind" 2008:
Ofra Ben Yaakov and Yaffa Olivitsky - Kashtum - Israel's Foreign Ministry
Zavi Apelbaum - Public Affairs-Israel's Foreign Ministry
Tamar Yaakobi - Cultural Attache at the Israel Consulate in San Fransisco,
Amir Gissin - Consulate General of the Israel Consulate inToronto
Yoram Morad - Cultural Attache, Renee Schreiber at the Israel Consulate in
New York
Shlomo Mula - Dept. of Zionist Activities - The World Zionist Organisation
Yehuda Sharf - Central Region, The Jewish Agency for Israel
Ayalet Arad - The Rainbow Project and the UJA Federation of New York
A play for the entire family
“Flow” - Nightclub Tel Aviv
Nathan and Lindy Jacobson and Magen David Meds
Joey Low and Israel at Heart
Rami Kleinmann and the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University
Aviva Reifler and the Jewish National Fund
By Yossi Vassa & Shai Ben Attar
Translated by Howard Rypp
Directed by Shai Ben Attar
Ministry of Culture, Israel
& Israel Foreign Ministry
Municipality of Tel Aviv
Actors: Tehitina Assefa, Mahareta Baruch, Shai Fredo,
Benny Gatahon, Sky Gette, Yossi Vassa and Roy Zadok
Music by Idan Zilbershtein
Set Design by Alexander Sasha Lesansky
Choreography by Iddi Saaka
e m a i l : n e p h e s h @ i n t e r. n e t . i l
Nephesh Theatre
Tel: 03-5221101
Fax: 035227707
Animation by Adi Katz
Costumes by Sky Gete
Lighting by Meir Alon
Sound Technician: Oded Weinstock
Lighting Technician: Liad Malone
Dialect Coaches: Pnina Joy Isseroff &
Linda Lovitch
Yossi Vassa (Writer-Actor) 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 800 times
in Hebrew and 150 times in English throughout
North America and Europe. "One of a Kind"
which is based upon his own real life experience,
has garnered many awards and has been
presented over 200 times in Hebrew. These
NY presentations are part of a first major North
American tour. With Nephesh he previously
appeared in Athol Fulgard's "Sizwe Bansi is
Dead" He has produced, written and starred in 3 movies in Amharic that have
become cult films for the Ethiopian community. His Screen acting includes
Dan Wollman's feature film "Foreign Sister" and on TV as a regular on the
prime time weekly program "Israel Live"
Shai Ben Attar ( Writer-Director) 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 2004 and recently toured North
America.. Shai has also worked as Head Writer
for Israeli Television's National Channel, as well
as for the Educational TV channel. He currently consults as an actors' coach
for RESHET TV as well as writing and directing a show for stand up comedienne
Lital Shwartz
Howard Rypp (Producer-Translator)-born
in Winnipeg, graduated from York University,
Toronto and later immigrated to Israel in 1983.
He has directed over 60 professional
productions in English, Hebrew and Yiddish in
Israel and abroad. His production of Gabriel
Emanuel's "Einstein" which he originally directed
in Hebrew at the Habimah National Theatre
was re-mounted in English and toured North
America last year including a run at the offBroadway's La Mama Etc. .His translation of
many Israeli plays and movies into English have
been seen throughout the world. He also
produced and translated Yossi and Shai's previous work "It Sounds Better in
Amharic" He has lectured on Jewish Theatre and taught acting at the University
of Tel Aviv as well as Acting for the screen at Sha'ar Ha Negev College. He
recently returned to his first love-acting. As well as performing in feature films
and television he presented his one man play "Gimpel the Fool" at the
Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and it will tour Canada the US and Europe in late
Tehitina Assefa (Grandmother) - Trained as a nurse,
has worked in hospitals as well as leading workshops for
social workers throughout Israel. As an actress she toured
the world as a member of the acclaimed Itim Ensemble
acting in Rina Yerushalmi's Biblical epic "Ve Yomer Ve Yolech".
She also performed in the Kameri Theatre's "Mystical Spells"
She co-wrote and performs a one woman play based upon
domestic violence. Her screen credits include a principal role in Dan Wolman's
feature film "Foreign Sister"
Alexander (Sasha) Lesansky (Set Design) - is a graduate of the Faculty
of Architecture from the Engineering Institute of Vornich. He was the Head
Designer of thr Soberminik Theatre in Moscow between 1987-1990. He was
awarded the Gold Prize for Design at an International Exhibit in Prague in
1987. He immigrated to Israel in 1990, and has designed in virtually all the
major theatres throughout the country. He served as House Designer for the
famed Gesher Theatre from 1995-2000 and was awarded the Israel Theatre
prize for design for his work on "Satan in Moscow". He was also awarded a
lifetime achievement award from the Israel Museum.
Mahareta Baruch (Masi) - Graduate of the University
of Haifa's Psychology Department she continued her acting
studies under Ruth Dychis. She has played leading roles in
the Kameri's "Uri Muri" in Herziliyah Theatre's "Love and
Anger" and in the Arab Hebrew Theatre's "Foreign Women".
She initiated and acted in Israel's National Childrens Theatre
production "Wedding at Addis". Screen roles include the
television series "The Island" and "Michaella" and feature film "Sweet and Sour".
She finished in second place in the Israeli reality program based upon "The
Iddi Saaka (Choreography) - is a choreographer, dancer, drummer and
singer from Ghana, West Africa. Having learnt dancing throughout his childhood
in his village in Northern Ghana, Saaka received his First degree in Dance
from University of Ghana’s School of Performing Arts, and his Masters in
Choreography from UCLA’s department of World Arts and Cultures. Saaka
uses his choreography to engage his audience in social issues through the use
of high-energy movement, storytelling, humor and critical reflection. Saaka’s
technique and choreography draw from Contemporary African Dance,
Modern dance, traditional Ghanaian Dance and other West African dance
forms such as Djembe and Sabar. Saaka has taught and performed extensively
in the United States, Ghana and Israel.
Shai Fredo (Asmamo) - Graduate of the Nissan Nativ
Acting Studio. He has written and produced his own one
man play "Judean Lion". In Israel's Repertory theatres he
has played featured roles in works by Tenessee Williams,
Anton Chekov and Shakespeare. Screen roles include the
feature film,"Go live and Become", "Maybe this time" and
"Foreign Sister"as well as regular role on Israel's Hebrew
version of "Sesame Street". Shai was awarded a prestigious Sharett Foundation
scholarship for acting.
Idan Zilbershtein (Composer) - Has written music for productions of
"The House of Bernarda Alba", "Twelfth Night", "Children of the Candles" and
the Song of Nicesities".He has directed and composed the productions of "In
Man's Shadow", "Non-Stop Caf ", "November 4th" and "Penetration". He has
developed many collaborative creations with youth groups throughout Israel
garnering acclaim and admiration for the high standards he has achieved with
For this production:
Benny Gatahon (The Teacher and Case Pakudu)
Graduated from the University of Haifa's Theatre Department.
Stage experience include roles in Brecht's "A Mans a Man",
Strindberg's "Miss Julie" and "Tara Tara" based upon Ethiopian
legends. He was featured in the television series "The
Champion". He teaches drama and conducts sessions revolving
around socially oriented conflicts felt in Israel.
Sound - Oded Weinstock
Lighting - Liad Malone
Animations - Adi Katz
Diction and Dialogue Coach - Pnina Joy Isseroff and Linda Lovitch
Set Construction - Sochnov Productions
Marketing Abroad - Shelly Guggenheim, Yarden Schneider
Outreach in Israel - David Tagaya
Sky Gete (Yeshitu) - Graduated from Beit Tzvi's School
for Stage Art. Stage Experience includes roles include the
witch in Shakespeare's "Macbeth", the princess in "The
Shadow" Virginia in "The Itallian Straw Hat"as well as in the
musicals "Hair" and "Peter Pan" and the title role in "Blackeyed
Doll". She made a guest appearance in the Television series
"Reserve Duty"
Roy Zaddok (Isaac) - Graduate of the Nissan Nativ Acting
Studio. At the Habimah National Theatre he has appeared
in Brecht's "Caucasian Chalk Circle" Miller's "Death of a
Salesman" Machievelli's "Mandragola" Vonnegut's "Catch
22"and Ionesco's "The Chairs". Screen Appearances include
guest spots on many television series, commercials as well
as in the American movie "A House Divided". Roy is a
graduate of the Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Law.
One of
a Kind

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