Welcome to Manara
MENA theatre invasion of the United Kingdom
Manara @ Shubbak 2019
Manara will be curating a series of play readings as part of Shubbak 2019, the biannual Middle Eastern arts festival. The readings will take place at the Gate Theatre, Notting Hill, London.
YOU BURY ME
Saturday 13 July, 12pm
Egypt | UK
You Bury Me is about six young people living in ‘post-Arab Spring’ Cairo. The old police state is propped up by a new, much harsher, military regime. This is a story about people longing to live how they want and love who they choose. This is a story about a generation who fought and who lost. This is a story of Cairo and those desperate to rebuild it.
Ahlam is an Egyptian playwright writing in English.
TWO HEADS AND A HAND & THE JOKERS
Saturday 13 July, 2pm
The Jokers visits those marginal characters in society who are alienated by their otherness. Using drag and larger than life characters, Zoukak provocatively asks what constitutes an outcast. At once vilified, but equally worshipped, these figures are idols and victims at the same time. They are a foil onto which society projects their dreams and anxieties.
Two Heads and a Hand is based on texts by Shakespeare. Can revenge ever be justified? What is the difference between violence and brutality? Numbed by brutality shown in the media, how far can theatre go to portray it on-stage? With bolshy irreverence and slapstick humour, Zoukak digs out key moments from Shakespeare plays and mashes them up into a collage for our current conflicts.
Zoukak is Lamia Abi Azar, Omar Abi Azar, Mohamad Hamdan, Junaid Sarrieddeen and Maya Zbib. As a collective they create and tour work and run one of Beirut’s liveliest venues.
NO DEMAND, NO SUPPLY
Saturday 13 July, 3pm
by Sahar Assaf
In April 2016 Lebanese police broke up a sex-trafficking ring after four women successfully escaped from the Chez Maurice nightclub. They and over 70 other Syrian women had been lured to Lebanon with promises of employment and safety. They were incarcerated as prostitutes and subjected to violent exploitation and degradation on an unprecedented scale.
Sahar Assaf’s verbatim play combines accounts from four of the women with court records and documentary material to brutally expose the economics, politics and human cost of the sex trade.
Sahar Assaf is a Beirut-based actor and director and co-founder of Tahweel Ensemble Theatre. She is assistant professor of theatre at American University of Beirut and founder of AUB’s Theater Initiative.
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CHRONICLES OF A CITY WE NEVER KNEW
Saturday 13 July, 4.15pm
by Wael Kadour
Syria | France
Chronicles of a City We Never Knew pitches violence and love against each other by telling a love story between two young women in Damascus in 2011.
The play charts the transformation of the revolutionary movement in Syria from peaceful to armed conflict. Where does violence reside in seemingly peaceful choices, and where does love reside in violent ones?
Wael Kadour graduated at Damascus Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in 2006 and is now based in Paris. Chronicles of A City is his fifth play and received its premiere at La Filature, Scène Nationale in Mulhouse in January 2019.
"Surely you know that pleasure soon evaporates, into thin air?
Then all we are left with are stories."