Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On the Importance of Being an Arab

On the Importance of Being an Arab

Friday, November 26th
Saturday, November 27th at Theatre Monty in Antwerp.

Friday, December 3rd at Les Halles de Schaerbeek in Brussels.

This performance is based on events in the life of director/performer Ahmed El Attar. In sequences based on his personal archives – love letters, school and university grades, programs of the performances he has attended, work documents and letters etc. – a character is drawn who shares his views on his own perceptions of himself and on how the outside world perceives him.

On the Importance of Being an Arab further develops the performance style that characterizes Attar's recent Temple Independent Company productions – a combination of theatre, music and visual arts. A single intense rhythmic soundtrack accompanies the performance from beginning to end. The music composed for this production by Hassan Khan, with its emphasis on the use of electronics, driving and insistent loops and riffs, and emotional synth workouts is based on contemporary Cairene Shaabi forms. Video clips, also by Khan, are projected behind the performer, making this a multimedia performance in what the company describes as “new and relevant Egyptian theatre that is sensitive to the contemporary context in both form and content”.

On the Importance of Being an Arab was created in 2009 and was presented in Sharjah (UAE), Düsseldorf (Germany), Ivry (France), Groneijen, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and Amsterdam (Holland) in the fall 2009, in Cairo in July 2010 and at the Piccolo theatre in Milano in September 2010.

Ahmed El Attar is an independent theatre director, translator and playwright who lives in Cairo and works in the Middle East and Europe. He is the founder and artistic director of the Temple Independent Theatre Company in Egypt and the founder and managing director of the Studio Emad Eddin Foundation. The studio is a unique space in Egypt and the Arab world, providing rehearsal space and training to performing artists in Cairo, and residencies to visiting trainers and artists. El Attar has a BA in Theatre from the American University in Cairo and an MA in Arts and Cultural Management from Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle. He is currently a Chevening scholar on the Clore Leadership Programme (UK). El Attar has been chosen by the Arabic edition of Newsweek as one of 42 personalities who influence change in the Arab world. Recent productions include F**K Darwin, How I’ve Learned to Love Socialism (2007), Othello Who’s Afraid of William Shakespeare (2006) and Mother I want to be a Millionaire (2004). His pieces, which address socially relevant themes, have been performed to public and critical acclaim throughout the Arab world and the West.

The performance is 40 minutes long and is subtitled in English.

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