Shlomo Bar-Shavit, whose life mirrors the history of Israeli theatre, has appeared in more than 260 productions, including as Nazi doctor Josef Mengele

Just shy of 90 years old, Shlomo Bar-Shavit claims to have performed more stage roles than any other actor in Israel. At least 260, he boasts, in a career that predates the creation of his home country in 1948. “I was there from the start,” he says. And in many ways, Bar-Shavit’s life has mirrored the short history of Israeli theatre.

The Israeli of Lithuanian descent spent his childhood in more than a dozen foster homes in British-ruled Palestine. At 16, he performed his first play in a kibbutz, one of the secular agricultural communes run by the pre-state Jewish population, many of which promoted theatre and music.

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