Girls in Arms is a combat-heritage guided tour to various political and national sites, lead by the characters of Jenny & Janna, two soldiers serving in the IDF’s spokesman department, performed by Nadav Bossem and Adili Lieberman.
The two soldiers, determined to prove the importance and righteousness of the Jewish and Israeli narrative, and to associate every location and public practice with the glorious “IDF state”, guide the participants through well known venues and sites such as Tel Aviv city hall, memorial monuments, battle sites, governmental offices and university campuses, and present them through the combination of historical information and ridiculous fictive tales.
Each tour is especially composed for the site and is based on a detailed research of its history and current function. The tour involves demonstrations and reenactments of events that allegedly took place, discussions, trivia quizzes and surprise interviews with politicians, managers and employees that accidentally encounter the group during the tour.
The new, fabricated stories interact with the real ones and highlight problematic, hidden or repressed aspects of the site’s general image.
By blurring boundaries between performers and audience, between factual and made up narratives, the performers crack and dismantle automatic perceptions of social mechanisms. They point out the selectiveness of collective narratives and the presence of the often unseen agendas that support them.
This satirical, highly political and hilarious performance invites its participants to reconsider political, social, cultural and emotional layers of familiar sites and to rethink them as part of a larger frame. By defamiliarizing these consensual locations, the audience is encouraged to inspect with fresh, critical eyes other absolute-truths of its social and political existence.
“Under this bunker was the church of one-eyed Maria. Underneath it there was a mosque, and under that – a synagogue (because they always build on us). Under the Mosque there was a Roman spa for warriors who loved warriors. Today it’s the garages area. You see how everything connects?”
Jenny & Janna share the unknown history of Tmuna Theatre
“Throughout the history of the Jewish people, theatre and transportation have always, always coincided”
Janny & Janna’s overview of the cultural development in Israel
2016 Sirenos Festival, Vilnius, Lithuania
“The surprise of this years’ Sirenos Festival program – the Israeli artists, Nadav Bossem & Adili Liberman in their work “Girls in Arms – Reclaiming Vilnius”. Not only did they reclaim Vilnius, they also reclaimed Israel with satirical fictitious stories that challenge stereotypes and liberate the way of thinking. It is a reclaiming of a sober, fresh viewpoint that shakes-off of the burden of the past that became an outdated obstacle, and on top of all this, it’s simply the reclaiming of joy, a joyful and spontaneous relationship with the world.”
Alma Braškytė, Sirenos blog
“History is all about layers. It’s like a Black Forest cake”
Jenny & Janna present Tel Aviv city hall
“Bossem and Liberman are both seriously funny actors and observers of Israeli culture… They expose the irrational underbelly of blind patriotism, while giving it a tickle. Provocative and outrageous as their performance may be, it is not at all simplistic in outlook, and manages to convey the complexities of the situation with humor.”
Ayelet Dekel, MidnightEast (March 2014)
“In the tours, which are gathering a large group of fans, the soldiers Jenny & Janna draw the fictive and absurd history of the sites, and tell – from a hilariously funny IDF propaganda perspective – their battle heritage… The diverse audience – elders, soldiers, families with children – is an active participant, gets carried away in the detailed stories and sometimes forgets that the heaps of words coming out of the soldiers’ mouths are in fact made-up.”
Yair Ashkenazi, Haaretz (August 2015)
“During the Six-Day war the people of Tel Aviv prayed AMEN AMEN that Jordan will conquer Jerusalem, because they totally hate Jerusalem, but it was God’s will to give us Jerusalem for all eternity!”
Jenny & Janna rethink the collective ethos in Tel Aviv city hall