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BIBI - a new two-act play by Kalman Kivkovich

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Bibi The Play

Please continue to visit this website for comprehensive updates of all activities.

This HOME PAGE will always feature the upcoming events.

For a complete program visit the CALENDAR PAGE.










April 29, 2014 at 7:30 PM Jarson-Kaplan Theater  (CLOSED)



July 22, 2014 at 7:30 PM Fifth-Third Bank Theater   (CLOSED)


July 23, 2014 at 7:30 PM Fifth-Third Bank Theater   (CLOSED)


July 24, 2014 at 7:30 PM Fifth-Third Bank Theater   (CLOSED)


Diogenes Theatre Company




a one-man show


A fully-staged production.



Written by Kalman Kivkovich

Directed by Drew Fracher

Starring Robert Pavlovich


BIBI, the play, is loosely based on a true story.

Telegenic and media savvy, an impeccable and eloquent English speaker, who has become a familiar face on U.S. television and an effective advocate of the Israeli cause, Benjamin Netanyahu, Bibi, was elected Premier in 2013 for a third time, after becoming, in 1996, the youngest person to hold the post. Time magazine ‘crowned’ him “KING BIBI” – “He conquered Israel. But will Netanyahu now make peace—or war?”








                                                             Art Credit: J. Michael Skaggs


July 22, 2014 at 7:30 PM Fifth-Third Bank Theater


July 23, 2014 at 7:30 PM Fifth-Third Bank Theater


July 24, 2014 at 7:30 PM Fifth-Third Bank Theater



Aronoff Center for the Arts, Fifth-Third Bank Theater.

650 Walnut Street in downtown Cincinnati

Tickets are only $15

Aronoff Center Box Office - 513-621-2787

or online at:





Robert Pavlovich [BIBI]


Drew Fracher [Director], Wendy J. Dorn [Stage Manager], Mark Halpin [Scenic designer], Steve Miller [Set Construction], Dave Levy [Sound Designer], Steve Schofield [Lighting Designer], Kelly A. Yurko [Makeup Artist], Elizabeth Motter [harpist / arranger], Mark Santangelo [Recording Engineer], Recording Studios [Lausche Recording Studios], and Diogenes Theatre Company [Producer]



About the Playwright – Kalman Kivkovich

Kalman is a retired architect, artist, author and playwright.  Born in Kazakhstan in 1945, Kalman lived in Poland, Israel, Italy, and—since 1973, in the U.S.  His first nonfiction work was published in Italy in 1975.  His first novel, “In the Vise of Evils,” was published early 2011.  To date, Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative (CPI) has selected eleven of his plays for staged readings. The first, In the Vise of Evils, based on his novel, was awarded an unprecedented two performances (2007) and set CPI’s highest attendance record in 5/3-Bank Theater. Embers from the Ashes: A Girl's Holocaust Diary, his second play, received a public staged reading in May 2008.  From Auschwitz to Cincinnati: The Surviving Tunes, about the celebrated, world-renowned local violinist, Henry Meyer, had its debut to a sold-out house at the prestigious Jarson-Kaplan Theater on April 26, 2011.  Kalman’s play, the controversial Al Dura: Truth or Deception?, also had its debut at the Jarson-Kaplan Theater on April 24, 2012.  The play generated mixed reactions across the glob. His most recent was a trio of Holocaust related short plays (2013):  Sarale, Full Circle and One Simple Digit.   Another play-in-progress is Save a Soul, Save the World.

Kalman was elected and served as President of CPI for two terms (2010-2014).  He and his wife, Sandi, reside in Cincinnati, Ohio.

For more please visit my new websites:



For more information, contact Kalman Kivkovich at 513-861-0004 or kivi1@cinci.rr.com


About the Director – Drew Fracher

Drew is a freelance director, fight arranger and actor, serving as a Fight Master with the Society of American Fight Directors.  As a director his work has been seen at Actors Theatre of Louisville, American Stage, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, New Stage Collective, Florida Stage and the Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Cincinnati Shakespeare Festivals.  As a fight director his work has been seen for over 25 years at a wide variety of theatres throughout the U.S.  Recent directing credits include A Christmas Carol at Actor's Theatre of Louisville and Of Mice and Men at Cincinnati Shakespeare Co.  Upcoming projects include Fight Direction for Carmen at Cincinnati Opera and directing One Man, Two Guvnors at Georgia Shakespeare in Atlanta.  Drew is a member of The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society Union (SDC).




About the Actor – Robert Pavlovich

A father, actor, teacher, and voice-over artist, Robert has appeared on stage in over 60 Regional, New Orleans, and Cincinnati productions. Favorite Productions include: Adding Machine and Eurydice at The Know Theatre, The Pillowman, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Search & Destroy. He has appeared in motion pictures with Nicolas Cage, Julia Roberts, Jean-Claude van Damme, Craig T Nelson, Malcolm MacDowell, Nick Rose, and others.

His work has taken him from covering Olympics and Presidential campaigns/conventions for the UPI Radio Network, to conceiving, writing, producing and directing award-winning commercials, and to teaching. Robert has taught Acting at Loyola University of the South and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. He has been a part of the University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music, Dramatic Performance faculty since 1999, teaching Theater History and Acting for Camera. He has been a proud member of Actors’ Equity since 1998. But he is proudest of his sons, Robert, Jr, Brett, and Jason, and his partner and wife, Diane Lala.





Cincinnati playwright Kalman Kivkovich gives 'Bibi' Netanyahu to prevent another Holocaust

Jewish remembrance and activism at play

by Matt Peiken


11:26 AM, Apr 25, 2014

CINCINNATI—Kalman Kivkovich didn't foster his creative life until his 60s, but the roots of his writings have been with him since birth.

His parents and their families escaped the Nazis into the Soviet Union. Kivkovich, who built a career in architecture, now seems singularly focused on preventing another Holocaust—this one, he fears, in the Middle East.

With his 2007 book "In the Vise of Evils," Kivkovich launched a run of plays and books that now stretch to 14. His latest, Bibi, is a one-man show focusing on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political and moral philosophies around Iran. 

"All my writing is dedicated to remembering the Holocaust, because very soon we're not going to have the people who lived through that, and it would be easier to say it never happened," he said. "If we don't learn from the past, we're going to create another Holocaust.

"With 'Bibi,' it's about preventing another Holocaust."

The play premieres Tuesday, April 29, at the Jarson-Kaplan Theater at the Aronoff Center and will see three more performances there in late July. This video, featuring Cincinnati actor Robert Pavolovich in the title role, features scenes from a rehearsal and an interview with Kivkovich.


IF YOU GO ....

WHAT: "Bibi"

INFO: (513) 621-2787 or cincinnatiarts.org

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Link to interview with 9WCPO

"Cincinnati playwright Kalman Kivkovich gives us 'Bibi' Netanyahu on his own terms . .. .."   9WCPO





The Sappy Critic

by Kirk Sheppard

Local playwright, Kalman Kivkovich, has written a one man play about the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netenyahu.  Bibi, as he is known across the world, is apparently a polarizing figure in the Middle East.  I say apparently because my only knowledge of him is hearing the name on the news as a kid (when I still watched the news).  However, thanks to Bibi, I can say my horizons have been expanded.

This isn’t a perfect script; at times it feels more like political lecture than play .. . . but I certainly heard the playwright’s voice through the dialogue.  Actor Robert Pavlovich (known quite affectionately by some in my social circle as “Bob Pav”) had the unenviable job of taking a one-man show with very little plot and drawing the audience in. I would say he succeeded, as I felt engaged throughout the nearly 100-minute run time.  Kivkovich has mined through so many speeches to make his Bibi authentic and I believe he succeeded.

The main purpose of the show, as I’m sure Kivkovich would tell you, is to warn against the dangers of Iran building nuclear weapons.  Bibi’s passion around this issue is apparent, though I would have liked to see more anger from him.  He seems too saintly in this show, and I’m pretty sure behind closed doors he’s far from it.  However, as a piece of political influence, this show works just fine.

Mark Halpin’s set design brought energy and life to the stage.  Diogenes, a new theatre company, certainly spared no expense in producing this show.  The platform, flooring, chairs, and other pieces did set the tone necessary for each section of the play and I commend him for his efforts.  David Levy, one of the most prolific sound designers in town, has another great outing here as his effects were timed perfectly and helped keep the show interesting.  Director Drew Fracher did as much as you could with the pacing and the blocking, and even though I’m certainly not the target audience for this piece, I can’t say I was ever bored.  And I really kind of expected to be.

I was wrong and I can admit it.  Kudos to this production . . . as the woman introducing the play said, this is “Kalman’s dream come true.”  Congratulations to him and let this be an inspiration to the amazing new playwrights in Cincinnati to keep pursuing their dreams.

BIBI will be produced again this July at the Aronoff Center for a special three night run.  We’ll have more details on the blog as we get closer.  We’re also looking for more exciting things from Diogenes Theatre Company as they make their presence felt in Greater Cincinnati.

Diogenes Theatre’s “BIBI” Recognized by LCT

By Sheldon Polonsky, on May 2nd, 2014


Panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized Diogenes Theatre’s premier production of BIBI for its excellence in sound and set design. BIBI, a new play by local playwright Kalman Kivkovich, is a on- man play loosely based on the life of Israel’s charismatic prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Panelists praised scenic designer Mark Halpin for designing “a functional set with elegantly simple solutions for multiple locations and a nice surprise with a shift to the UN.”  They were also impressed by David Levy’s sound design, “ taking us to the courtyard, the auditoriums, the phones, and the wonderful harp.”

Nominations for LCT awards will be determined and announced at the end of the season and winners awarded at the annual LCT gala in the spring.



Bibi – a one-man show

Review by Tom Carozza


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Prolific local playwright Kalman Kivkovich, known for his Holocaust-themed plays, has written a compelling historical and biographical play about Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel.
The play, fully-staged at the prestigious Aronoff’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater, focuses on Israel’s current day issues while presenting scenes from Bibi’s past that help us understand this polarizing figure.

“I take nothing for granted,” is one of the opening lines spoken by Bibi, and that theme winds itself throughout the play. We hear parts of famous speeches as well as insights from Netanyahu’s painful private moments that can only have been inferred by the playwright. Robert Pavlovich presents an excellent human portrait of the man, not attempting to do his impression, but suggesting the telegenic Bibi’s media savvy and polished presence. We learn about the 1976 loss of Bibi’s brother, Yoni, in the raid on Entebbe as perhaps the motivation for Netanyahu to return to Israel and enter politics. From there we see the personal struggles of a complex personality trying to lead a nation; nothing is simple in the life of Bibi.

The play seemed to captivate the audience throughout, and the standing ovation at the closing felt genuine.
While being both entertaining and educational, the play makes a strong statement that Iran cannot be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, and ends with Bibi’s powerful symbolic words and a ticking sound as the lights fade to dark:

“Always I hear the clock… It ticks. Still it ticks …”

The production by Diogenes Theater Company was first-class: sets, acting, lighting, and sound. Music included a piece written by the playwright.

I spoke with the playwright shortly after the production.
“With this play, I anticipated some rough times, but maybe not as rough as they turned out to be,” he told me. “There were personal attacks on my character. In addition we had to endure the unfortunate byproducts of the subject matter—namely, anti-Semitism, and the hatred of Israel. Nazi Swastikas were painted on at least two large BIBI posters in front of the Aronoff Center. Well, I guess it comes with the territory…”

Kivkovich told me that in Israel, news about the show quickly made its way not only to a nightly entertainment program, but also to the top rated national TV news.

“Bibi, the play,” Kalman says, “is not about political affiliation. The purpose of this play is to open public awareness to the hovering danger of a nuclear Iran."
One patron told Kivkovich “Though I'm not a big fan of Bibi's and I have a different sense of what's going on in Iran, I did enjoy the play. Solid script, great set, smooth transitions, and wonderful sustained energy by Robert Pavlovich!”

Kalman went on to say, “Bringing BIBI to the stage was and is worth it. A man introduced himself to me soon after the show and said, ‘I must admit that I’m very liberal and anti-Bibi, but this play made me pause and at least re-think my position about Bibi and his views. I've learned so many things that I didn't know.’”

“This IS what my play is about; making people, like this patron, pause and think.”

The production returns to the Aronoff Center for three encore presentations on July 22, 23, and 24, 2014, and a touring schedule will be announced thereafter.

Diogenes Theatre Company is a new outlet for creative energies of the Greater Cincinnati professional theatre community, which plans to employ the best of local Equity actors, professional directors and other theatre creative individuals. Diogenes is a member of the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT)

Kalman Kivkovich is a retired architect, artist, author and playwright. Born in Kazakhstan in 1945, Kalman lived in Poland, Israel, Italy, and—since 1973, in the U.S. His first nonfiction work was published in Italy in 1975. His first novel, “In the Vise of Evils,” was published early 2011. To date, he has written fourteen plays. Kalman is a former President of Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative (CPI). He and his wife, Sandi, reside in Cincinnati, Ohio. .

For more about the author and the play: http://www.kalmankivkovich.com/ http://www.holocaust-author.com/index.php


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