The Arab Spring comes to the theatre in Sydney this week for the world premiere of In The Eruptive Mode.
Created by Arab-British Theatre Company 'Sabab' the show responds to the state of revolt and convulsions of change sweeping the Middle East.
“It's the voices of these individuals who are caught in moments of great change and great upheaval. It's that young voice of non-aligned, educated civically minded youth that has since been very much marginalised by the events on the ground”, says writer/ director Sulayman Al-Bassam.
First the uprisings in Tunisia and Libya, then Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain. At least 60,000 dead and the war in Syria continues.
Kuwaiti born, British educated Sulayman Al-Bassam says theatre allows for the freedom of expression that many young people in these countries are fighting for.
“One of the consequences of change in the region is to look for new forms of expression. It's about the exploration of a new form. A new form that is also open to 'the other' so it was important for us that a local performer be part of this piece and that happens to be a wonderful performer Kym Vercoe”.
Ms Vercoe is a Sydney based actor who was selected to work with Sabab theatres Arab ensemble for this series of performances.
“For me the important thing is about making it a really human story now where you have these 3 people on stage that you can really connect with then you get in to see this is really affecting people in their homes, at their workplaces on a day to day basis”, she says.
Constructed as a series of monologues, in the Eruptive Mode tracks the lives of 4 Arabs and 2 outsiders caught in the turbulence of the uprisings - what Sulayman Al-Bassam sees as a great historical shift in the region.
“They strike me as enormously important historical moments and I do believe that the best work theatre can make comes out of a source that is linked to history. Revolution is a complex concept and the revolution in Tunis is different from the revolution in Egypt, it's different from the revolution in Syria. We are not spokesman for any party or any state. We simply tell stories that resonate - that's our job”.
'Sabab', the name of Sulayman Al-Bassams theatre company in Arabic, means 'to cause' or 'trigger'.
Mr Al-Bassam hopes this new work will do just that, keeping the revolution alive on stage.
“In our heads it's very much dedicated to the people who really led the way”, he says.
After its world premiere in Sydney this week, In the Eruptive Mode will tour internationally in 2013.
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