"Make my Heart Tremble" is the last play by great Israeli playwright Hanoch Levin, published posthumously. It is now being produced by Tel-Aviv's Kameri theatre company, with Rami Baruch and Meirav Gruber both impressive in the starring roles.
Thing is, there's very little "starring" going on in Levin plays. The man is an expert on futility, defeat and embarrassment. His characters always wind up losing out completely, no matter what their aspiration. This is certainly the case in this play. The laughable Lamka spends his entire adult life futilely courting beautiful singer Lalalala (who grows less and less beautiful as the play progresses). He remains unloved till the last curtain. Meanwhile, Lamka's married friend, Pshoniak, isn't all that much happier in his married life with the dreadfully unsexy Caha Caha, whose name literally means: "so so", and who isn't at all happy with him.
There's a hint of optimism, though, or at least joie de vivre. "If I'm ever asked what was the essence of my life," Lamka says to Lalalala, "I will say it was standing below your window, with my heart a-tremble and no hope at all. There, right there, was life."
That's a Jewish line if there ever was one. As Jews, we await a messiah who is not allowed to arrive. As soon as we believe he's arrived, we cease to be Jewish. Levin brings this cult of disappointment to the modernist stage and the realm of romance in all its pathetic beauty. There, right there, is art.