A grotesquery in two acts, with a prologue, an epilogue, and an intermediate scene

Will they hurt? What do you say?
And where will it hurt? And how much?
And dying, what does that feel like?
And not being, what about that?
And if I do not exist—then what?
Where does that mean I will be?
Will there not be someone else who is me?
And the loss—tell me: will I lose?
I will lose! And I haven’t even lived yet!

Translated by: Jessica Cohen

Premiere: 1996
Directed by: Hanoch Levin
Theatre: Habima Theatre
Number of characters: 12
Subjects: Death, Mythology

Costume and stage design: Rakefet Levi

Music: Uri Vidislevsky

Lighting: Avi-Yona Bueno (Bambi)

Vocal Guidance: Rachel Hochman

Participants: Geta Munte - the King; Rozina Cambus - the Queen; Nava Auerbach - the Princess; Rivka Noyman - the Sewage-sweeper's apprentice; Ofer Zohar - the Torturer; Dina Blei - the Torturer's apprentice; Eyal Nachmias - the Prison guard; Katya Zimbris - the Prison guard's apprentice; Amitay Yaiysh - the Midget, the Poet; Michael Koresh - the Doctor; Rivka Gur - the Cook; Sandra Schonwald - the Hunchback; Eran Lavi, Sam Kleiman, Shuka Bergman, Eli Deeker, Rembrandt, Ziv Bellisiano - Palace servants.

Musicians: Galit Dadon, Eti Kurry - Singers; Ran Bago - Piano; Uri Vidislevsky - Percussion


An old, dying king wishes to marry his step-daughter the princess for a new lease on life. When his wife the queen is caught cheating with the sewage sweeper's apprentice, the king takes advantage, moving that she be sentenced and executed for adultery. In an attempt to force his confession, the sewage sweeper's apprentice is taken to the pit and cruelly tortured. The princess, accompanied by her midget (half her pet, half her admirer), is making her way to the king's feast when she hears screaming from the pit.

She goes down the pit to investigate, sees the sewage sweeper's apprentice and immediately falls in love with him. 

When the princess finally joins the feast, the king loses his composure and promises to fulfill her every wish for one night of lovemaking. She agrees, and they retire to his bedroom. The night of romance is disappointing to the king as the princess does not return his love. Still bound to his promise however, he grants the princess her request for the release of the sewage sweeper's apprentice. 

The princess returns to the jail pit and gives orders for the apprentice to be dressed in princely attire, but as she kisses him for the first time she realises her innocence has vanished and she can never love again. Flying into a rage, she orders the beheading of the sewage sweeper's apprentice who is executed by the vengeful midget.

All the while, we witness the attempts of the palace doctor and his wife the cook to find a suitable groom for their mute and hunchbacked daughter.