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Arts and culture

Antigone of Syria - a truly moving performance

BEIRUT | - December 11, 2014, 16h20
Photo by Tabitha Ross.
Last night we attended the opening night of Antigone of Syria performed by a group of Syrian refugee women at Masrah al Madina theatre in Hamra.
It was an incredibly emotive performance. The play was described as a reinterpretation of Sophocles’ text from around 400 BC, looking closely at the parallels between that story and the personal stories of the Syrian women performing it. We were surprised and touched by how personal the play really was.

One woman sat in the corner, providing a sort of narration of the project by reading from the journal she had been asked to keep since they started rehearsing in September. She described her emotions and those of the other women, how they had gradually become more comfortable in their drama therapy sessions and how it had become obvious that they had omitted many details of their personal tragedies when they had first met.

Almost every member of the 22-member cast had the chance to tell her own story; of hope, loss and disappointment. We heard about family members who had been taken from them without an explanation, the humiliating and threatening journey to Lebanon, the disappointment felt once they arrived in Beirut and the dreams that preoccupy them.

Knowing that none of these women had any experience with performing, and that, for many, it was their first time in a theatre, made their performances even more touching. The audience appreciated the resilience they showed as they told their heart-breaking personal tragedies in front of complete strangers.

Antigone, the play’s heroine is almost seen as a role model for the cast. She, who defies the King and decides to give her brother a proper burial despite his objection, is looked upon with reverence. The women try to work out which role they should have in the play, the brave Antigone or her more subordinate sister, Ismene.

To the audience, they were all Antigones.

Antigone of Syria, Friday December 12 at Masrah al Madina theatre in Hamra (Arabic with English subtitles).

Tickets are on sale at Al Madina Theatre, Mezyan, AltCity (all in Hamra), and Radio Beirut in Mar Mikhael. Online reservation:
#Theater, #Dramatherapy, #Syria, #Syrian_refugees
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