Dror Israel educators create an original hip hopera which tells the story of the life and assassination of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin.
Dror Israel educators have written, choreographed, produced, and star in an original hip hopera which tells the story of Yitzchak Rabin’s life and assassination, while also addressing current social issues and pressing matters in the lives of teenagers. These heavy issues are tactfully addressed through engaging and captivating original musical numbers, with the musical aiming to serve as an educational tool to strengthen democratic values in Israel.
The musical pays homage to the 1985 movie “The Breakfast Club”, with a plot based around a group of students tasked with writing a paper about Yitzchak Rabin, interspersed with flashbacks to Rabin’s life and interludes which give the audience a peek into the emotional and dramatic internal lives of the high schoolers.
One of the lead actors, Chen Akiki, 32, who is a member of Dror’s educator’s community in Tel Aviv and a director of the Merchav youth center in Rishon LeTzion, said that acting in the musical has been a really exciting experience. In addition to being an educator and a director of a youth center, he is glad that Dror gives him the opportunity to put to use his love of acting and theater. He said that they have received glowing feedback from teachers, principals and partners from local municipalities.
He stressed that the message of the musical is important, now more than ever. The political unrest in Israel and even incitement against various figures surrounding the tense inauguration of the incoming government, “proves that the lessons of Yitzchak Rabin’s assassination haven’t been learned. The aggression, incitement, and antagonism in Israeli society is leading to violence and societal schisms.”
Chen explained that the musical is an important educational tool which conveys to teens that “it’s important to be able to talk about disagreements, to agree to not always agree, but to create an Israeli society which can include different points of view without being torn apart.” The musical aims to bring these messages to students in a new and engaging way and to give teachers a new tool with which to open difficult and important conversations about civic conduct.
On the day of the inauguration of the new government, amidst partisan screaming and cursing in the chambers of the Knesset, the organizers of the play released the following statement:
“The recent period in Israeli society continues to show us how topical and relevant our work is.
The hip-hop opera "Simple Math" was born over a year ago, in the midst of the Corona epidemic, based on a social and educational worldview, and out of a belief and understanding that we need to learn about our past and from it to dream about our future!
The story of the life of the late Yitzhak Rabin as well as the story of his murder are important and painful points in our shared history as a people. Our duty as educators is to continue to educate future generations to learn the lessons from them.”
The musical has just finished a pilot run of 4 performances to crowds of educators and local leaders. In the upcoming school year, it will be performed for schools, youth organizations, and during memorial events commemorating the assassination of Yitzchak Rabin.