SAN FRANCISCO: FoolsFURY has announced that founding artistic director Ben Yalom will step down after 22 years and will be succeeded by current co-artistic director Debórah Eliezer. Eliezer will take full control on Sept. 1, and her appointment will be marked by a foolsFURY national convening of ensemble theatremakers in collaboration with Claudia Alick, executive producer of Calling Up Justice, Sept. 12-13.
Yalom had continued to lead the physically oriented theatre ensemble despite moving away from the Bay Area in 2011. In 2015, Yalom promoted longtime company member and then associate artistic director Eliezer to co-artistic director in charge of producing new works, internship opportunities, and public education programs. Moving forward, Yalom is still working on several writing projects and he is involved with several theatres in San Diego, where he now lives.
“FoolsFURY has been my creative home and laboratory for over two decades,” said Yalom in a statement. “While the decision to move on has been difficult, the company could not be in better hands. Debórah has been a brilliant partner in artistic exploration, and in broadening our audiences’ understanding of what theatre can be. She brings three decades of experience as an acclaimed physical performer and voiceover artist, a teacher and a coach, and an enthusiastic champion of the values of collaboratively made theater that we hold dear. Under her leadership, foolsFURY will continue to deepen its relationships with ensemble theater makers around the country and abroad, with an eye to ever greater inclusion of artists of color, women, immigrants and exiles, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.”
Eliezer joined the company in 2005 after stepping down as founding co-artistic director of San Francisco’s Eclipse Dance Theater. By 2016, she was developing her first solo show (dis)Place[d], which would go on to tour from San Francisco to London. Eliezer holds a B.A. from San Francisco State University and a certificate in sound, voice, and music healing from the California Institute of Integral Studios. She serves on the national steering committee of the Middle East North African Theater Makers Alliance and the Alliance of Jewish Theatres antiracist committee. Eliezer has worked with Woman’s Will, the Puppet Players, Marin Shakespeare Company, Antenna Theater, Boxcar Theatre and Traveling Jewish Theatre.
“Debórah epitomizes the spirit in our company’s name,” said Yalom in a statement. “She is a force of nature who understands theatre’s ‘furious’ capacity for social critique and social change, and she embodies the warmth, wit, and wisdom of the ‘fool’. She has been a joy to work with both on and off the stage for 16 years.”
Said Eliezer in a statement: “I am grateful for Ben’s visionary leadership, friendship, and long-term commitment to collaboration. Ben’s directorial judgment, literary acuity and overall pursuit of artistic excellence have fundamentally contributed to uplifting the model of ensemble theatre in the U.S. I’m excited to continue challenging the assumptions of what theatre can be.”