The uprising in Syria and other Arab countries in recent months was featured on stage this week at the Fujairah International Monodrama Festival.
Entitled, ‘Spring Sonata’, the one man Syrian show was performed by Mazen Al Natour on Monday 23 January 2012 at the Dibba Society Theatre in Fujairah. It was written by Jamal Adam and directed by Maher Al Selaibi.
The character is a Syrian teacher of history who has received a higher education in France. He reviews some historical events from Syria as he seeks to renovate his house. The attempt to plaster and paint over the cracks becomes something of a metaphor for the play.
The teacher recalls the life and times of his grandparents, his French wife and daughter ‘Sonata’ and his friends. His performance of these different characters adds richness and humour to the monodrama.
The actor recounts the oppression and violence shown toward him and his friends because of their commitment to maintaining their dignity and exercising their human rights.
A video screen is used to illustrate his memories and portray his changing moods.
The Syrian drama connected strongly with the Fujairah international audience and it was obvious from the laughter, the silence and the applause that something powerful was happening in the theatre.
The play and subsequent discussion raised issues about the extent to which playwrights should state and how much they should infer.
Some expressed disappointment that the writer had narrated the history of Syria at the beginning of the play and the wish that these events were understated.
In the post-performance discussion, led by Egyptian artist, Sameh Al Seraiti, with participation from Maher Al Selaibi, Jamal Adam said why he had described the Syrian events but he was highly appreciative for the feedback. He said that the performance in Fujairah was the premiere of the play and he and the director promised to consider the feedback as they look to future performances of the show.
The Syrian trio is to be congratulated for creating and performing a drama about a major movement that is sweeping the Middle East and is as yet, unfinished and unresolved.
The Organizing Committee of the Fujairah International Monodrama Festival is to be congratulated for scheduling the post-performance discussions for this conversation was as intense and dramatic as the play itself.
Take a Look
Some photos from the ‘Spring Sonata’ and the discussion that followed can be seen in this photo album.
Leading Actors Visiting Fujairah Encourage Acting Schools and Versatile Theatres, FIF, 25 January 2012.
Fujairah Monodrama Includes Interviews and Conversations with Actors, FIF, 24 January 2012.
Spectacular Opening of Monodrama Festival at Fujairah Fort, FIF, 23 January 2012.
Image: “The attempt to plaster and paint over the cracks becomes something of a metaphor for the play.”
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