The souls

Theatrical reading with author Roy Chen

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As part of the exhibition “Rubinstein as a guest at Seligmann”, Israeli author Roy Chen will present his novel “Souls” at Villa Seligmann. Following the presentation of the book, actors Natascha Gondar and Daniil Khremkin will present excerpts in a staged reading. This will be followed by a salon discussion with the author.

Seelen (Souls) – A novel

Grisha’s life story spans over four hundred years. Born in a small Jewish town in the 17th century, he lives and dies over the centuries, changing bodies again and again, each time being reborn. But what is the secret behind these endless rebirths? Is it atonement for an old sin, unfulfilled love or just coincidence?

It sounds like complete nonsense, doesn’t it? That’s exactly what his mother thinks! She pushes herself into the story with an overwhelming will to cure Grisha’s so-called memories and turn them into his real biography (at least that’s what she thinks). In her view, every person has only one life – everything else is a metaphor.

The two protagonists of Souls fight a constant, merciless battle for the reader’s heart. But who will win? Soul or body, fantasy or reality, the Son, the Mother or the Holy Spirit? Is life ultimately a gift or a punishment? And who is the soulmate that Grisha has been looking for for centuries?

Based on extensive research, Souls offers an insight into fascinating chapters of Jewish history – from the birth of Jewish theater in the 17th century about the cultural diversity in the Jewish ghetto in Venice of the 18th century and the everyday life of a Jewish woman in Morocco in the from the 19th century to the recent history of immigration from the former Soviet Union to Israel in the 20th century.

Souls is a truly fresh and original novel. Sophisticated, funny and heart-wrenching. He switches with ease between genres and periods of history, while always remaining deeply inspired by the Jewish roots of his author, who wants to feel like a citizen of the world and sometimes even succeeds in doing so.

Souls was published in Italian and Russian and is now being translated into English, German and Ukrainian.

(As of February 2023, Source:

Translation from the Hebrew: Lucia Engelbrecht. She translates Hebrew poetry, prose as well as children’s and non-fiction books. In 2023 she won the City of Vienna Translator’s Prize.


Roy Chenborn in Tel Aviv in 1980, is an author, playwright, dramaturge and translator. Since 2007, he has been the dramaturge of the Gesher Theater in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, where many of his works are created and performed, most recently “Аnybody Here.” Chen’s productions, plays and translations have reached international stages in China, Russia, Canada and the USA. He is fluent in English, Russian, French and Italian. He has also translated over 40 plays into Hebrew, including works by Pushkin, Dostoyevsky and Chekhov. Roy Chen has received a number of awards for his work, including the S.Y. Agnon Prize for Literature (2023), the Rosenblum Prize for Performing Arts of the City of Tel Aviv (2022), the Israeli Prime Minister’s Prize for Hebrew Literary Works (2022) and the Yitzhak Navon Prize of the Ministry of Culture and Sports (2017) for the preservation and cultivation of Israeli cultures.

Natascha Bondar, born on the Crimean peninsula on the Black Sea, studied directing and acting first in Kharkov (Ukraine) and then in St. Petersburg at the theater academy under one of Russia’s most legendary directing professors, Alexander Musil. She has lived and worked in Berlin since 1997. She directed “Das Dokumentartheater Berlin in den Unterwelten” for several years, with which she performed at many international theater festivals and won the “Prize for Best Director” among other important awards. In 2008 she founded the “Theater Songs and Words” and dedicated herself to intercultural themes and interdisciplinary methods. She writes her own poems and songs, which she presents to a wide audience with her band “Madam Schascha”.

Daniil Khremkin, born in Saransk, Russia, has been an acting student at the Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF since 2022. Last year, he played the lead role in an ARD series “Made in Germany” (Max Ophüls Prize) and a supporting role in the Netflix series “Kleo II”. As part of a Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg phosphor project, he was the lead actor in the feature-length film “Interior” (rbb).

Admission 23/15 (reduced 8) Euro. Admission opens 30 minutes before the start of the event.

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