Vakhtangov-The Habima prophet-often arrived to The Dybbuk rehearsals in the middle of the night, and he continued the work through the early morning. The Habima troupe patiently awaited their director for as long as it took. Upon Vakhtangov’s arrival, they greeted him ecstatically, despite the hour. In the meantime, at Vakhtangov’s own Studio, a group of his students rehearsing Gozzi’s Princess Turandot waited impatiently for their director. They were jealous of The Habima. 1

At fi rst glance, Gozzi’s play is a mere trifl e. Its leading man-brave, if not reckless Prince Calaf (see Figure 25.1 )—fell in love with the proud Turandot-the princess of China. To win the princess’ hand in marriage, Calaf agreed to solve the three riddles Turandot puts to her contenders. Calaf’s life is at stake, as the unlucky contenders, who fail to solve even one riddle, have their heads cut off.