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June 13, 2017

Lincoln Center Festival Theater Advisory

Lincoln Center Festival


Aleba Gartner / Isabel Sinistore

212.206.1450 / 212.671.4195

[email protected] / [email protected] 


Lincoln Center Festival

Theater Advisory


Four North American Premieres Featured:


Opening Skinner’s Box


July 10–12

North American premiere

Inspired by Lauren Slater’s 2004 book, human nature is revealed in a

rollercoaster ride through fascinating 20th-century psychological experiments.

Co-directed by Phelim McDermott and Lee Simpson


While I Was Waiting

July 19–22

North American premiere

Syrian playwright Mohammad Al Attar’s chilling family drama about a man

who ends up in a coma after being stopped at a Damascus checkpoint.

Based on a true story, this portrait of today’s Syria shows a country caught between hope and despair.


Yitzhak Rabin: Chronicle of an Assassination

July 19

North American premiere

Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai’s elegiac play about the events leading up

to the 1995 assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Two Israeli actresses seated at either end of a table read from the memoirs of Leah Rabin.


To the End of the Land

Ha’Bima National Theatre and Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv

July 24–27

North American premiere

A theater phenomenon that played to sold-out houses in Tel Aviv based on

David Grossman’s acclaimed novel about a traumatized mother in war-torn Israel


Lincoln Center Festival 2017 features 20 international productions by innovators and iconoclasts in dance, music, theater, and film. The Festival continues its mission of globalism by inviting to Lincoln Center artists and companies from a dozen countries and five continents who are creating audacious, original, and relevant work. From July 10-30, 43 performances will animate Lincoln Center’s campus venues and beyond. 


The Festival’s theater offerings feature four North American premieres from the U.K., Syria, and Israel, challenging audiences to look backward and forward, while offering perspectives that confront assumptions about human nature. Details about the complete Lincoln Center Festival lineup may be found here and




Opening Skinner’s Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century

Monday–Wednesday, July 10–12 at 8:00 pm

Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College

North American premiere



Adapted from the book by Lauren Slater

Directors Phelim McDermott and Lee Simpson


Set Design Laura Hopkins

Lighting Design Nigel Edwards

Sound Design Adrienne Quartly

Performers Alan Cox, Stephen Harper, Tyrone Huggins, Morven Macbeth, Kate Maravan, Paschale Straiton


With its trademark mix of wit, insight, and inventive stagecraft, Britain’s Improbable makes its Lincoln Center Festival debut with Opening Skinner’s Box, a whistle-stop tour of famous 20th-century psychological experiments and the stories of the people who created them, starting with still-controversial behaviorist B.F. Skinner’s notorious rat boxes. Memory, obedience, compulsion, addiction, and fear are some of the issues explored in this “remarkable piece of theater” (The Reviews Hub).


Inspired by Lauren Slater’s acclaimed 2004 book and spearheaded by Improbable’s co-artistic directors Phelim McDermott and Lee Simpson, Opening Skinner’s Box is a time-traveling dialogue with the audacious scientists who set out to unlock the secrets of human behavior. Amidst ethically questionable methods, shocking results, and blinding biases, one thing becomes abundantly clear: Everything we thought we knew about ourselves is wrong.


Running Time: 1 hour 45 minutes


Commissioned by Wexner Center for the Performing Arts at The Ohio State University through its Artist Residency Award Program. Co-commissioned by Lincoln Center Festival and the Brisbane Festival. Co-produced by Northern Stage and West Yorkshire Playhouse.




While I Was Waiting

Wednesday–Friday, July 19–21 at 8:00 pm

Saturday, July 22 at 2:00 pm

Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College

North American premiere


Playwright Mohammad Al Attar

Director Omar Abusaada

Set Design Bissane Al Charif

Lighting Design Abdulhameed Khaleifa

Video Reem Al Ghazzi

Music Samer Saem Eldahr (Hello Psychaleppo)

With Hanan Chkir, Mohammad Alrashi, Nanda Mohammad,

Mohammad Alrefai, Reham Kassar, Mustafa Kur


Performed in Arabic with English supertitles


Digging into the story of one middle-class Damascus family, the celebrated Syrian team of playwright Mohammad Al Attar and director Omar Abusaada—stars of the newest generation of Syrian theater creators—offer a gripping portrait of a country trapped in a gray area between hope and despair.


While I Was Waiting is a chilling reflection on the aftermath of political upheaval in the Syrian capital through the eyes of the family of Taim, a young man who falls into a coma after being brutally beaten by unknown attackers in Damascus. Throughout the play, Taim can only speak to the audience, but not to the other characters. The audience experiences flashbacks of traumatic events that the family has encountered, witnesses the struggles that his family faces, and hears about changes in the Syrian capital happening while Taim is unconscious. Al Attar wrote, “While I Was Waiting is an attempt to tell the story of a people who are still trying to survive—the story behind the images on screens and in newspapers and beyond the complex political analysis, all of which often ignore the fate of ordinary humans and the deep transformations happening in their lives, thoughts, and beliefs.”


In creating this play, Abusaada met and recorded the stories of real families of coma patients living in Syria at a transitional time. The play is an honest depiction of a family confronting changes in their home country and in their lives, and the fragile hope around which their lives revolve.


Running Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


Made possible in part by FACE Contemporary Theater, a program developed by FACE Foundation and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States with lead funding from the Florence Gould Foundation, Institute Français, and the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.


A co-production of Festival d'Avignon, Napoli Teatro Festival, AFAC Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, Pôle Arts de la scène - Friche La Belle de Mai (Marseille), Theater Spektakel (Zurich), Onassis Cultural Centre (Athens), Vooruit (Gent), La Bâtie Festival de Genève, Les Bancs publics - Festival Les Rencontres à l'échelle (Marseille), and Festival d'Automne à Paris.


With support from La Criée Théâtre national de Marseille, Le Tarmac (Paris), Montévidéo Marseille. ?

In partnership with RFI, France 24 et Monte Carlo Doualiya.




Yitzhak Rabin: Chronicle of an Assassination

Wednesday, July 19 at 8:00 pm

Alice Tully Hall, Starr Theater, Adrienne Arsht Stage

North American premiere


Text Amos Gitai and Marie-José Sanselme

Director Amos Gitai

Lighting Designer Jean Kalman

Producer Laurent Truchot

Music Luigi Nono, J.S. Bach, Jürg Frey, Louis Lewandowski


With Einat Weizman, Sarah Adler

Piano Edna Stern

Soprano Keren Motseri

Violin Alexey Kochetkov


Performed in English


On November 4, 1995, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the architect of the Oslo Accords, was assassinated, traumatizing his country and sending shockwaves across the world. Acclaimed architect-turned-filmmaker Amos Gitai revisits the political turmoil and violence leading up to this moment in an intimate performance that blends spoken word with live music and visual projections. Two Israeli actresses seated at either end of a table read from the memoirs of Rabin’s widow, Leah Rabin, accompanied at points by piano, singer, and violin. In weaving these elements into a theatrical whole, Gitai expands upon the subject of his 2015 investigative film Rabin, the Last Day and its companion piece, the film diary Shalom Rabin, creating an experience existing between elegy and lullaby.


Yitzhak Rabin: Chronicle of an Assassination premiered at the 2016 Avignon Festival, where it was hailed a poetic fable “reconstructing the past and renewing the conscience of humanity” (Inferno Magazine). Amos Gitai is Israel’s most internationally recognized filmmaker, and some say its most controversial and intrepid. He is most well known for his prize-winning documentaries and feature films surrounding the Jewish-Arab conflict, which strive to make sense of the endless cycle of violence in the Middle East.


Running Time: 1 hour 30 minutes 




To the End of the Land

Monday–Thursday, July 24–27 at 7:30 pm

Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College

North American premiere


Ha’Bima National Theatre / The Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv


Based on the novel by David Grossman

Adaptation and Direction Hanan Snir

Set Design Roni Toren

Music Ori Vidislavski

Movement Miri Lazar

Costume Design Polina Adamov

Dramaturg Noga Ashkenazi

Lighting Design Roni Cohen


With Efrat Ben Zur, Dror Keren, Amnon Wolf, Daniel Sabbag, David Bilenca, Guy Messika, Rinat Matatov,

Amos Boaron, Harel Murad, Nir Barak, Eldar Brantman, Vitaly Podolsky


Performed in Hebrew with English supertitles


Israel’s leading municipal theater The Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv and Ha’Bima National Theatre of Israel—both incubators for playwrights, directors, actors, and designers—co-produce To the End of the Land, the phenomenal production that played to sold-out houses last year in Israel. The drama is based on Israeli writer David Grossman’s critically acclaimed and deeply disturbing novel about Israel’s future.


The story explores the intertwining threads of love and family between Ora, Ilan, and Avram, who meet as teenagers in a hospital during the Six-Day War in 1967. Decades later, when Ora’s son volunteers to go to the Lebanese front, she escapes with Avram to the Galilee, clinging to the superstitious hope that if she can’t be found, she can’t be “notified” of her son’s death.


In director Hanan Snir’s poignant staging, the characters’ ultimately aimless journey, with no defined destination and a constant intrusion of the past, becomes a conduit for the unrelenting sense of existential fragility at the heart of the human condition. To the End of the Land is a story not simply of violence and tragedy, but of warmth and love and the strength of families in war-torn Israel.


Running Time: 2 hours 30 minutes, including intermission


With support of Israel’s Office of Cultural Affairs in North America






Opening Skinner’s Box

Improbable is one of the U.K.’s most inventive companies. Led by Phelim McDermott and Lee Simpson, it uses improvisation to create remarkable shows, support and nurture artists, and facilitate social change. Improbable believes that art is for everyone and that society needs a cultural shift that puts creativity at the heart of everyday life. 


Improbable creates an astonishing breadth of work, from intimate, small-scale works, such as the improvised puppetry piece Animo, to the pioneering and hugely influential Lifegame, and massive outdoor spectacles like Sticky. Its work also includes a number of operas, including several collaborations with Philip Glass.


The company has worked extensively in the United States, from the Olivier and International Opera Award–nominated Akhnaten at LA Opera to the acclaimed Panic at the Wexner Centre, Ohio. Opening Skinner’s Box marks Improbable’s seventh production in New York, where previous shows include the 1998 OBIE Award–winning 70 Hill Lane at Performance Space 122 and Satyagraha at the Metropolitan Opera. Improbable returns to the Met in Spring 2018 with Così fan


Phelim McDermott

Phelim McDermott is a founding member of Improbable. He has won various awards such as an Olivier Award for Best Entertainment, TMA Awards for Best Touring Production and Best Director, and a Critics Circle Best Designer Award. He was awarded a National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts fellowship and an honorary doctorate from Middlesex University. He directs Così fan tutte at the Metropolitan Opera in 2018.


Lee Simpson

Lee Simpson is a founding member of Improbable, a Comedy Store Player, and one of Paul Merton's Impro Chums. He has also been a croupier, cinema projectionist, and breakfast show DJ. Simpson has written plays, appeared in sitcoms and in some films, participated on Radio 4 panel shows, and once did a very poor poodle act at the London Palladium. He feels this lack of direction is the essence of his work.



While I Was Waiting

Mohammad Al Attar

A Syrian writer and playwright born in Damascus in 1980, Mohammad Al Attar has written for many magazines and newspapers, focusing recently on the Syrian uprising. He met Omar Abusaada in 2007, which led to their first experience with a form of documentary theater. Alongside his activity as a playwright, he uses theater to lead projects with minority groups throughout the Arab world. His plays have been performed in Damascus, London, New York, Seoul, Berlin, Brussels, Edinburgh, Tunis, Athens, and Beirut. Several have been translated into English.


Omar Abusaada

Omar Abusaada studied at the Drama School of Damascus, his hometown. Spurred on by his professors, who were then developing new methods based on international creations, he built his own vision of a politically and socially conscious theater. Working as a playwright and director, he cofounded in 2002 the group Studio Theatre, whose first show, Insomnia, premiered in 2004. His directing credits include El affich (2006); Forgiveness, based on improvisations with a group of inmates from a youth detention center, Almirwad wa almikhala (2009); Look at the streets … this is what hope looks like (2011); Could You Please Look into the Camera? (2012); Intimacy and Syria Trojan Women (2013); and Antigone of Shatila (2014). He spent years travelling the remotest regions of Syria, Egypt, and Yemen, performing at marketplaces as a way to talk with the villagers, who sometimes joined the actors onstage. Since then, he has created shows that combine Syrian dramatic tradition and new practices, incorporating contemporary writing and documentary theater.



Yitzhak Rabin: Chronicle of an Assassination

Amos Gitai

In 1973, when the Yom Kippur War broke out, Amos Gitai was an architecture student. The helicopter that carried him and his unit of emergency medics was shot down by a missile, an episode he alludes to years later in Kippur (2000). After the war, he started directing short films for Israeli public television, which is no longer in operation. In 1980, his first documentary, Bayit (The House), a portrait of Israelis and Palestinians who had lived in the same Jerusalem house, was censored. Two years later, the controversy created by Field Diary, shot before and during the invasion of Lebanon, drove the filmmaker to exile, a situation that inspired his first fiction features, Esther Forever (1985), Berlin-Jerusalem (1989), and Golem, the Ghost of Exile (1991). Amos Gitai returned to Israel in 1993, the year that the Oslo I Accord, promoted by Yitzhak Rabin, was signed in Washington, D.C. That marked the beginning of a period of intense activity during which he directed documentaries and fiction films—creating an erudite aesthetic dialogue between the two genres—as well as plays and supervised exhibitions. For the past 40 years, Amos Gitai has been building a body of work that is at once universal, politically conscious, and optimistic, intrinsically marrying the intimate, the political, and the poetic to pursue a deep quest for hope, without losing his critical edge.



To the End of the Land

David Grossman

David Grossman was born in Jerusalem in 1954. His books have been translated into more than 35 languages. He is the author of nine internationally acclaimed novels, three powerful works of nonfiction, and a short-story collection, as well as more than a dozen children's books, a children's opera, and a play. Grossman has been presented with numerous awards, including Chevalier de l’Ordre des Artes et des Lettres (France), Prix Eliette Von Karajan (Austria), The Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation (U.K.), the Buxtehuder Bulle  (Germany), the Sapir Prize (Israel), the Premio per la Pace e l'Azione Umanitaria 2006 (City of Rome/Italy), Onorificenza della Stella Solidarietà Italiana 2007, Premio Ischia—International Award for Journalism 2007, the EMET Award 2007 (Israel), and the Albatros Prize, awarded by the Gunter Grass Foundation. Grossman was also the recipient of the prestigious Peace Prize of the German Booksellers Association in Frankfurt 2010 and France's Prix Medicis for translated literature in 2011, as well as the Brenner Prize (Israel) in 2012. In 2013, he received the French Point Award for most beloved book by readers and critics (To the End of the Land) and the Italian Fundazione Calcari for Lifetime Achievement. His new novel, A Horse Walks into a Bar, is being published internationally, in more 35 languages, throughout 2016–17.


Hanan Snir

Hanan Snir is one of Israel's most prominent directors. Born in 1943 in Tel Aviv, he is a graduate of the Department of Theatre Arts at Tel Aviv University and Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, London. Snir was a trainee director at the Royal Shakespeare Company under the acclaimed director Peter Brook (1970) and directed at RADA, London (1970–1972). Between 1974 and1976, Snir was a resident director at the Beer Sheva Municipal Theatre. Between 1977 and 1982, he was Associate Director at The Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv. Since 1984, Snir has been Associate Director at Ha'bima National Theatre (Artistic Director 1992–1993). His production of Sophocles’s Antigone received the Israeli Academy Prize for Best Production, Best Director, Best Translator, and Best Actress in 2007, and he won best play and best director in 2015 for Tedeus Slobodjanek's Our Class. Snir is a certified psychotherapist, and he also holds a diploma in Family Therapy, Psychodrama, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and an MA from Boston University in Counseling Psychology. He has received numerous awards for his productions in Israel and around the world, most recently The Israeli Theatre Life Achievement Award in 2015.


Ha’Bima National Theatre of Israel

This avant-garde theater gives expression to the spirit of the Jewish people through the revival of Hebrew culture and language. Maxim Gorki wrote, "from poverty, hunger, and frost, this miracle was conceived… This small and beautiful baby will grow into a glorious giant."


The origins of the Ha’Bima Theatre go back to 1917, when a theater company of Jewish zealots—all Hebrew teachers—was formed. At the time, when studies of the Hebrew language were forbidden, they were determined to found not simply a highly professional avant-garde theater, but to give expression to the revolutionary spirit of the Jewish people through the revival of Hebrew culture and language. They soon attracted the attention of the high priest of Russian theater, Constantin Stanislavski, who agreed that the Ha’Bima would become one of the studios attached to the Moscow Art Theatre. In 1945, the Ha'Bima opened its new venue in Tel Aviv. Today, it provides a home for creativity and an incubator for playwrights, directors, actors, and designers to grow their talents, gain experience, and develop ideas. At the same time, the Ha’Bima welcomes artists from abroad and has represented Israel in a variety of prestigious theater festivals around Europe.


The Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv

The Cameri Theatre, Tel Aviv Jaffa Municipal Theatre, was founded in 1944. It is considered the largest and most prolific theater in Israel. Each year, the Cameri stages up to 12 new productions, together with 20 productions in repertoire that are performed before audiences totaling 1,200,000 people. So far, the Cameri has produced some 500 productions on its various stages, with more than 2,000 performances every year. The theater company includes 80 of Israel’s finest actors, and its plays are directed by celebrated directors from Israel and abroad. The theater is located in the center of Tel Aviv-Jaffa. All the productions run there in its five auditoriums, as well as travelling nationally and internationally.  


Over the years, The Cameri Theatre has been invited to leading theaters and theater festivals worldwide, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Barbican in London, Hannover Expo, Washington Shakespeare Festival at The Kennedy Center, Gdansk Shakespeare Festival, National Centre for the Performing Arts (The Egg) in Beijing, Moscow Theatre of Nations, and to more than 100 other international venues.


The Cameri Theatre hosts yearly international theater festivals that recently included: Robert Wilson's Threepenny Opera and Arturo Ui from the Berliner Ensemble, the Volksbuhne, the Schaubuhne, the Deutsches Theatre from Berlin, the National Theatre of Norway, the National Theatre of the Czech Republic, The Public Theater in New York, the National Theatre of China, The Globe Theatre in the U.K., and more than 70 other theaters from all over the world.


The Cameri's productions have garnered more than 120 awards, including the most coveted Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement and Special Contribution to Society and the State of Israel. This year, The Cameri Theatre received an Honorary Fellowship of Tel Aviv University for its singular contribution over seven decades to enhancing Israeli culture, for its rich repertory, and for nurturing excellence in all aspects of theatrical performance.




Lincoln Center Festival has received worldwide attention for presenting some of the broadest and most original performing arts programs in Lincoln Center’s history. The festival has presented some 1,465 performances of opera, music, dance, theater, and interdisciplinary forms by internationally acclaimed artists from more than 50 countries. To date, the festival has commissioned more than 44 new works and offered some 145 world, U.S., and New York premieres. It places particular emphasis on showcasing contemporary artistic viewpoints and multidisciplinary works that challenge the boundaries of traditional performance.


Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (LCPA) serves three primary roles: presenter of artistic programming, national leader in arts and education and community engagement, and manager of the Lincoln Center campus. A presenter of more than 3,000 free and ticketed events, performances, tours, and educational activities annually, LCPA offers 16 series, festivals, and programs, including American Songbook, Avery Fisher Career Grants and Artist program, David Rubenstein Atrium programming, Great Performers, The Performing Arts Hall of Fame at Lincoln Center, Lincoln Center at the Movies, Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Awards, Lincoln Center Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Lincoln Center Vera List Art Project, Midsummer Night Swing, Mostly Mozart Festival, White Light Festival, the Emmy Award–winning Live From Lincoln Center, which airs nationally on PBS, and Lincoln Center Education, which is celebrating 40 years enriching the lives of students, educators, and lifelong learners. As manager of the Lincoln Center campus, LCPA provides support and services for the Lincoln Center complex and the 11 resident organizations: The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Juilliard School, Lincoln Center Theater, The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet, New York Philharmonic, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, School of American Ballet, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.


Lincoln Center has become a leading force in using new media and technology to reach and inspire a wider and global audience. Reaching audiences where they are—physically and digitally—has become a cornerstone of making the performing arts more accessible to New Yorkers and beyond. The reimagination of David Geffen Hall will play an important part in these efforts. For more information, visit


Lincoln Center is committed to providing and improving accessibility for people with disabilities. For information, call the Department of Programs and Services for People with Disabilities at 212.875.5375.




Lincoln Center Festival lead support is provided by American Express.


Endowment support is provided by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Nancy Abeles Marks.


Lincoln Center Festival 2017 is also made possible by The Shubert Foundation, LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, The Katzenberger Foundation, Inc., Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc., Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas), Jennie L. and Richard K. DeScherer, Lepercq Charitable Foundation in Memory of Paul Lepercq, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, J.C.C. Fund of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York, FACE Foundation, The Harkness Foundation for Dance, The Joelson Foundation, Great Performers Circle, Producers Circle, Chairman’s Council, and Friends of Lincoln Center.


Public support for Festival 2017 is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and

New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


American Airlines is the Official Airline of Lincoln Center.


Nespresso is the Official Coffee of Lincoln Center.


NewYork-Presbyterian is the Official Hospital of Lincoln Center.


“Summer at Lincoln Center” is supported by Pepsi Zero Sugar.




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Improbable Theatre Improbable Theatre
Caption: Opening Skinner's Box
Photo Credit: © Topher McGrillis
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Improbable Theatre Improbable Theatre
Caption: Opening Skinner's Box
Photo Credit: © Topher McGrillis
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Improbable Theatre Improbable Theatre
Caption: Opening Skinner's Box
Photo Credit: © Topher McGrillis
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Scene from WHILE I WAS WAITING By Mohammed Al Attar
Photo Credit: © Stravos Habakis
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Scene from WHILE I WAS WAITING By Mohammed Al Attar
Photo Credit: © Didier Nadeau
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Director Omar Abusaada; WHILE I WAS WAITING
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(l-r) Hiam ABBASS and Sarah ADLER
Photo Credit: Still from video courtesy of Festival d'Avignon
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(l-r) Hiam ABBASS and Sarah ADLER
Photo Credit: © Christophe Raynaud de Lage
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Director Amos Gitai
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the artist
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Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv / HaBima National Theatre
Caption: To The End of The Land
Photo Credit: © Gérard Allon
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Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv / HaBima National Theatre
Caption: To The End of The Land
Photo Credit: © Gérard Allon
Size: 3300x2200

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