Israel, Alessandro Haber: “I, of a Jewish father, devastated by the war but not typhus”

“I only support peace throughout the world. And they shouldn’t bring religion into play, because faith teaches other things. The actor at the Quirino theater with “The Conscience of Zeno” by Italo Svevo

“I am literally devastated by this war, but I don’t want to root for either one.” This is what he ‘confesses’ to AdnKronos the actor Alessandro HaberJewish father and Catholic mother, interviewed on the conflict that broke out between Gaza and Israel after the launch of missiles and the actions against defenseless civilians, even newborns, perpetrated by Hamas and the “never seen in the past” reaction announced and ordered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu .

“Sure that groups like Hamas or Hezbollah, Isis or Al Qaeda are terrorist gangs made up of people who have no sense of life at all – underlines Haber -. The Jewish people had difficulty coexisting with the Palestinian people, for reasons we all know, but the people managed to coexist more or less peacefully in their daily lives. This action is like engaging in harakiri: it cannot have any justification, because it was a given that Netanyahu’s revenge would be triggered after Hamas’ action: it was known, it has always been known…“.

Observes Haber: “But it is the war itself that is harmful, wherever it occurs, in the Middle East or in Ukraine, in South America or in Africa. This is why I always say that I’m not rooting for anyone, I’m only rooting for peace, all over the world.. And they shouldn’t bring religion into play, because faith teaches other things, it doesn’t teach you to kill your other brother.” As Pope Francis often reminds us, killing in the name of God is the greatest blasphemy that can be uttered… “And he is perfectly right: the God of evil does not exist, it is man who has the evil soul within himself, beyond the geo-political and economic-financial interests that are always behind all wars”.

But what is ‘Jewish’ left in Alessandro Haber’s thoughts and soul? “For Jews, faith is inherited from the mother and instead I had a Jewish father”, the actor began.

I was born in Bologna almost simultaneously with the birth of the State of Israel and I lived there practically all my childhood, very happyfor almost ten years together with Jews, Arabs, Europeans, Muslims, Catholics. Then I returned about fifteen years ago, to Tel Aviv, but after a few days I ran away because I didn’t want to ruin the good memories of my childhood., seen with the eyes of a boy; adult eyes see different things… Surely, that subtle self-irony ‘à la Woody Allen’, that knowing and wanting to make fun of oneself, typical of Jewish culture, has remained in me, perhaps in a natural way.”

Haber brings ‘Zeno’s Conscience’ to the stage: “I have anxiety, but I couldn’t do theater without it”

“I’m very tense, I have anxiety, as always for years and years… But thank goodness I feel these emotions, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do theatre”, admits Haber in the meantime on the eve of the premiere at the Quirino theater in Rome of ‘The Conscience of Zeno’, a staging based on the novel by Italo Svevo, directed by Paolo Valerio who also signed the adaptation with Monica Codena, after the national debut in Trieste, “widely applauded with the packed room, including young people, up to the gallery which had not been reopened for some time”, reports the actor.

An anxiety very in line with the character of Zeno Cosini and with the psychoanalysis of Sigmund Freud that permeates Italo Svevo’s story. “Of course: I’ll say more, this conscience of Zeno is also a bit like my conscience, we could subtitle the work as Ale’s conscience… During the rehearsals, I started to reflect on myself, to do an examination of conscience over the entire span of my life – ‘confesses’ Alessandro Haber – This staging has however left the entire character of the character and the atmosphere of the novel intact”.

But did Haber ever promise himself ‘this is the last cigarette’? “I said it, of course; and I didn’t keep it. I started smoking when I was Zeno Cosini and I’ve never stopped; maybe it’s a form of self-destruction, but after sixty years of cigarettes, my lungs are miraculously almost intact,” he reveals. And, remaining on the subject of health, he assures: “I have now abandoned the wheelchair, replaced it with a crutch and with total love for this job, apart from depression, which however I have never given up on”.

Returning to the text, is it more difficult to recite a work that was created for reading and not for the stage? “Let’s say that by acting it we also become authors of a parallel novel that complements the official one written by the author. This is an operation that is increasingly present in the theatre, which I will propose again with ‘The Tuesday Lady’ by Massimo Carlotto with Giuliana De Yes. The literary world gives us many stories, many tragedies, many sometimes unexpected truths, which deserve to be staged.”

(Of Enzo Bonaiuto)