Sun 20 June
Return of Danton
A collective of German-based Syrian actors is rehearsing a contemporary adaptation of Georg Büchner’s Danton’s Death. A shattering, political drama, at its centre is a conflict between two giant figures of the French Revolution, Danton and Robespierre.
It is considered to be one of the greatest revolutionary works of European theatre. It is also terribly complex and convoluted, and the translation into Arabic from the German isn’t particularly good.
The company’s director believes this adaptation of a German classic will secure them funding. But the playwright turned dramaturg was more keen on writing a new play about the everyday lives of Syrian refugees living abroad.
As the company wrestles with Büchner’s manically intense play, life mirrors art as the two lead actors are caught up in the arguments between the writer and director.
Between catastrophic line runs and overlong cigarette breaks, the four lock horns about their conflicted views on the Syrian revolution and their roles as artists in exile.
Rehearsals progress and the tensions and disagreements grow as the company – almost unknowingly – engage more deeply with the themes of the play: What is a revolution? When does it end? Ten years after the Syrian revolution, do they really understand what happened and how they can tell their story?
Return of Danton is a new play by Syrian playwright Mudar Alhaggi and directed by Omar Elerian. Written and performed in Arabic, the play is a contemporary exploration of how the dynamics of political revolutions – from the French Revolution to the Arab Spring – can be reflected within the politics of the rehearsal room.
Collective Ma’louba is an intercultural theatre lab currently in residence at the Theater an der Ruhr in Mülheim. In its theatre productions, Collective Ma’louba questions the political and social conditions of the Arab world against the background of recent rebellions and penetrates the taboos of Arab and European society.
Co-presented by Shubbak Festival, Counterpoint Arts, The Lowry & Ettijahat Independent Culture. In cooperation with Maxim Gorki Theatre, Berlin. A co-production of Theater an der Ruhr and Shubbak Festival. Funded by The German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia.
After the livestream performance, the show will be available to watch on-demand until Saturday, 17 July. For more information, click here.