The Great Whore of Babylon

What are we, the fathers, if not manure for the soil in which our children grow?

Translated by: Jessica Cohen

Premiere: 1982
Directed by: Hanoch Levin
Theatre: The Cameri Theatre
Number of characters: 13
Subjects: Parent Child Relationships, Death, Mythology

Costume and stage design: Ruth Dar

Original music: Foldi Shatzman

Participants: Yossef Carmon - Brodakh; Hava Ortman - Ashima; Razia Israeli - Bigvai; Yehudit Yanay - Etis; Dov Reiser - Tsiha Tsiha; Sasson Gabbay - Butcher; Nurit Cohen - Midwife; Sassi Sa'ad - Peasant; Rose Meshihi - Feces dumper; Irmi Amir - Cook; Eli Glazer - Pedantic chamberlain; Elon Luria, Yehuda Dari, Tamir Rozanis, Doron Barbi - Slaves

Musicians: Micha Blecherovitz - piano; Benny Kadishzon / Ofer Shalhin - percussion; Morton Kam - clarinet, saxophone, flute; Menashe Ragib - trumpet; Mickey Dor - trombone; Tami Eshel - singing


Based on the Greek myth Procne and Philomela. Brodakh, a poor peasant, and his ailing wife Ashima live miserable lives on the desert's edge. One day Ashima's sister Bigvai, a beautiful and wealthy prostitute from Babylon, arrives to bid her dying sister farewell. To his dying wife's envy, the sight of Bigvai lights a fire in Brodakh's heart. Bigvai notices and manipulates Brodakh's emotions, arousing his desire until he can bear it no longer and mercilessly beats and rapes her upon his wife's fresh grave. For Bigvai, used to a life of comfort and tyranny over men, this is a wound that will never heal. She returns to Babylon with Brodakh's semen in her womb, vowing to one day rid herself of his seed. Threatened by the developing child and motherhood at large, she exiles the baby to the desert and his father. 

Years pass and Brodakh remains in the desert raising the child. He does not forget his love for Bigvai. Bigvai remains at her palace, swept away by a life of debaucher, never forgetting her hate for Brodakh. After seven years, she summons Brodakh and the child to Babylon. Alas, what seems to Brodakh as a new chance for love is nothing but a scheme to repay an old debt. Bigvai's revenge on Brodakh is cruel indeed, inflicting her vengeance not on him but his own flesh and blood - their common sin, the child.

This work was translated to: Polish

Polish   ADIT Publishing, Poland (2015)