“Meshal” Gaza… “A destroyed theater… destroyed dreams” The Siege Generation in a play

Islam Al-Astal Report

Nawa Network, Palestinian Women: Three female directors and six women managed to produce a work of art that critics described as “the best” in the recent period, after four shows they presented in Gaza City.

“Destroyed Theatre.. Destroyed Dreams”, the title of an inspiring theatrical work for lovers of this kind of arts, as it tackled several issues, foremost of which was the “bombing of Al-Mishal Theater” in 2018. That place served as an incubator for young people’s dreams and artistic ambitions.

The play sheds light on the stories of women who were able to add their fingerprints in all fields, despite the national, social and family concerns that burden them and impede their progress in this besieged spot, according to Wissam Al-Dirawi, the artistic supervisor of the play, and the executive director of the Bozour Theater Association for Culture and Arts.

For Wissam, this was not the first play that stands behind her last image of an unknown soldier, as she has been working in the theater for 16 years, and one of her most powerful works was “Hashtag”, the play that dealt with the issues of unemployment and immigration, and sent a strong message to the youth in Gaza that: “The homeland is The embrace of his children despite all the difficult circumstances surrounding him.

Despite this, Wissam believes that “Destroyed Theatre…Destroyed Dreams” is the real start of the “Bozour” theater association, since it was shown last September.

The play is the product of a writing workshop with a German institution, which lasted for two months, on the issues that we must address in our plays during the coming period. .

Al-Dirawi’s personal conviction affirms that the Palestinian people are originally connoisseurs of art and culture, “but the exceptional circumstances of the Gaza Strip, including the siege and successive Israeli attacks, through which the occupation army deliberately destroyed most cultural centers, made the most important preoccupations focused on work, earning a living and searching for a better opportunity in a besieged homeland. occupied,” she says.

And she continues: “The Israeli bombing of the Al-Mishal Theater, which served as an incubator for all Palestinian intellectuals, writers and artists several years ago, made the choice focus on writing a theatrical text dealing with the destruction of the Al-Mishal Theater as a symbol of the reality in the Gaza Strip.”

Returning to the play, her counterpart, director Ola Salem, noted that the team underwent several trainings that followed the writing workshop, until “Bozour” was chosen to perform the play.

She told “Nawa”: “The only theater that could accommodate us was Al-Mishal, and the occupation destroyed it because it realized that the theater was capable of exposing its crimes and conveying the voice of the Palestinians to everywhere in the world.”

But what are the devastating dreams that the three directors wanted to talk about during their theatrical performance, whose heroines were chosen from ordinary women – housewives and university graduates – who had no previous experience in acting?

Ola answers: “All our dreams in Gaza are destroyed, as artists, women, and youth, even housewives who are crushed by managing our daily lives. The Israeli occupation targets our feelings and dreams, our day and night, and seeks to destroy everything beautiful here to force us to emigrate.”

Ola’s colleague, Manal Barakat, believes that a capable director can transform any woman into a talented actress, capable of brilliantly playing any theatrical role, especially if the role really simulates reality.

“And this is indeed what happened with the work team (and talking to Manal), as we worked for two integrated months to prepare the actresses and train them on how to stand, body movement, and the nature of the voice, especially since some roles were for male characters,” noting that each one of them chose her role as appropriate. her character.

And about the experience of the six actresses, Manal says: “The rehearsals lasted intensely for two weeks, during which the young actresses faced the mockery of the ocean about what they would present, and what the experience would add to them? But with their first ascension on stage and the audience’s reaction, everyone around them started They think differently, and this boosted their self-confidence, and their desire to continue and repeat the experience, and to launch into theatrical acting.”

The three directors take consultation as a basis for working with each other, as they believe that they complement and support each other, which was reflected in the success and superiority of their first theatrical performance after their real start at the Bozour Theater Association for Culture and Arts.

Undoubtedly, the three directors and their founders faced many difficulties in financing, as Bozour is an emerging association, but the play “Destroyed Theatre, Destroyed Dreams”, constituted a milestone in establishing their feet in the artistic community.

The three directors aspire to establish an integrated feminist theater and drama school, all after the success of the play, the text of which was written in cooperation with several writers: Najwa Ghanem, Khaled Khamash, Ashraf Al-Afifi, and Muhammad Al-Khatib.

In turn, the writer Ghanem describes the experience as “different from all the previous theater writings that I wrote with my own breath.” This experience requires great effort and the ability to give up part of your text in favor of another writer. “You write an entire text so that part of it gets cut off and sticks to other parts of other writers, and you finally have to come to terms with the dramatic treatment that happens to the text as a whole,” she says.

Ghanem classifies the play as a tragic comedy, highlighting the importance of theater as a platform for change and communication with the outside world, exposing the crimes of the occupation, targeting culture with all its capabilities, and the mobilization’s attempt to build a theater in Gaza.

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