Masada – HerStory: The performance, 2018
Masada – HerStory, was inspired by the women survivors as described by Josephus Flavius in his Greek version of The Jewish War (75 CE).
After the fall of Jerusalem and Judea to the Romans in 70 CE, the fortress of Masada remained the last rebels’ stronghold. Following several months of siege, the rebels committed collective suicide in an ultimate gesture of freedom on the spring of 73 CE. Not one living soul remained to fall into the hands of the Romans, or so believed the last fighter.
But Josephus Flavius writes that: “an old woman escaped, along with another who was related to Eleazar, in intelligence and education superior to most women, and five little children. They had hidden in the conduits that brought drinking-water underground while the rest were intent upon the suicide-pact.” It was these women who conveyed the story to the Romans when they entered the fortress at dawn: “…Seeing no enemy, but dreadful solitude on every side, fire within, and silence, they were at a loss to guess what had happened…the noise came to the ears of the women, who emerged from the conduits and gave the Romans a detailed account of what had happened, the second of them providing a lucid report of Eleazar’s speech and the action that had followed.” Josephus Flavius, Of the Jewish War, Book VII, Chap VIII
Masada – HerStory was inspired by the forgotten rebellion of two women against their leader, Elazar ben Yair. Each of the 5 women in this work heal the place in her own personal way as they relate to the two courageous women.
At sunset, Masada wrap herself again in a cloak of mystery.”Here stand mountains round about, congealed and silent. They are eternal witnesses, ever intelligent, seeing everything always, hearing everything always, and knowing how vain the toil of the climbers has always been.” (Yitzhak Lamdan, Masada: A Historical Epic 1927).
The movie: 11:11′ (extract on site: 1:38′)
Cast: Hagar Dagan (flutiste), Maya Yogel (dancer), Yaeli Tai (singer), Alexandra Lavastine (mummy), Sigal and Avner Weissbein (mother and son).
Cinematographer: Talia (Tulik) Galon, Editor: Ora Maimon Pilewski, Aerial Photographer: Aviv Kegen, Camera assistant: Lior Mamon, Photographer: Gal Mosenson, Costumes designer: Lera Lemberg, Hebrew Narrator: Sigal Weissbein, Original score and lyrics: Hagar Dagan and Yael Tai, Sound design and music: Marcello Pilewski, Location sound recordist: Ishai Ilan, Makeup: Idit Ayala Alajem, Post Production: Colorist: Yair Nahson, Visual Effects: Omri Grossman, Studio: Bootke Color Studio, Location: Masada, A UNESCO World Heritage Site, in the Judean Desert.
Map of Masada by Dom Augustin Antoine Calmet, France, 1672-1757, After Jean Doubdan, Siege et Prise de Massada par les Romains, Etching. Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem by Elie Posner