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Exclusive interviews with artistes of The Park's THE OTHER FESTIVAL

Gil Alon (Israel)
'Mr. C' - Solo theatre on Dec 3, 2004

October 30, 2004
Gil Alon is a Zen Buddhist teacher, poet, actor, singer and a theater director from Israel. 'Gil' means 'happiness' and Alon means 'Oak tree'. Alon became a professional actor at the age of 16. It is mandatory for every Israeli to work three years in the army before continuing studies, but at 18, he was inducted into the army theatre group. On completing army service, Alon went to theatre school but still felt restless. After three years of studying Buddhism in Israel, he came to India when he was 39.

Alon is an initiated disciple and a dharma heir of Gudo Waffu Nishijima Roshi in Japan, Soto Sect, Dogen Sangha lineage. He received his dharma transmission in June 2001. He is a Reiki master and has conducted workshops on Buddhism creativity and meditation in India, Thailand, Japan, South-Korea, Nepal, The Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium and Israel. Gil Alon has a few CDs to his credit in his singing career and awards for acting. But philosophy is closest to his heart.

An interactive solo drama written, directed and performed in English by Gil Alon, “Mr. C.” is the first cloned person to reach middle age. He has been released from the laboratory to give his first lecture. During the lecture, his life will unfold in a surprising way.

What attracted you to India? What were your first impressions of India?
My attraction to India was not logical. I always knew that I have to come here. India appeared in my night's dreams in a very lucid way. My first impression: Landing in Bombay where people live on the airport's runaway, entering the city on the morning of Diwali, 7am, people standing in front of the stinky drains in the slums, brushing their teeth and bursting firecrackers. It was shocking, but I fell in love immediately.

You have conducted workshops in many countries. How different is your approach for the West and the Far East including India?
There is no different approach, for me the culture is only a veil. Inside, all are same.

You have worked with the Tamil street theater group Koothu-p-Pattarai in Chennai. How did you profit by this experience?
There are no words to describe my connection to KPP. If I must use words, I can say that we are in love and we took a vow to work together. After the festival, I will start a new production with them.

What sort of approach do you use when you work with children?
I don't give workshops for children, only perform for them. For me children are equal human beings who happen to be in a short body.

You participated in the Butoh production "The Flower of the Universe" directed and performed by the world famous Japanese Butoh masters Kazuo Ono and Yoshito Ono of Japan. Did you train in Butoh?
Yes, the production was a culmination of two months training.

'Just a Moment' is a diary of your travel to the Far East. Have you always been fond of travel? Do the experiences you gather influence the content of your workshops?
I was always fond of traveling, and now I can say that I am addicted. It is also a journey into myself and it does influence my workshops.