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January 17, 2018 | Theatre,

An Israeli soldier, a war correspondent, a Yezidi refugee…


A young female actress from a minority Christian community who turns killer as her country spirals into horrific civil war. An American war correspondent, compelled to bear witness to the conflict, whose report becomes the narration of her own death and dismemberment. A prostitute, unwittingly ensnared in the opening cycles of civil unrest.

In the Eruptive Mode, written and directed by celebrated Arab theatre-maker Sulayman Al-Bassam, brings the voices of the women of Arab Spring to the American stage. The
production features six monologues from women of the Middle East, their endurance and resistance amid the tragedy and turmoil in the region.

This production opens in Boston at the Emerson Paramount Center on the Robert J. Orchard Stage as part of an ongoing international tour. In this succession of short scenes, the characters are not revolutionaries or despots or any other people who determine the course of history. They are just ordinary people: bystanders, desperate outsiders, opportunists or victims of circumstances, whose inner world mirrors the complexity and disruption of their reality.

Performed by Franco/Syrian Hala Omran and the New Yorker Catherine Gowl, in alternating scenes they embody an American journalist caught up in the cross fire, an Israeli soldier seduced by a Palestinian at the foot of a grave and a Yezidi refugee violated and sequestered, who revolts against her martyrdom. The piece is played against a live composition by Brittany Anjou and designed by celebrated French scenographer Eric Soyer. “In the Eruptive Mode by Sulayman Al-Bassam has the effect of a seismic shock. The Anglo-Kuwaiti artist…reveals himself here to be an exceptional author and director.”

—Marina da Silva, Le Monde Diplomatique


Director/Playwright Sulayman Al-Bassam says of the production:

“Each of the characters exists in a distinct relationship to the geographies and timelines of the Middle East region following the popular uprisings of 2012. Some, like the character in The Lament of the Young Prostitute, are unwittingly caught up in events at an early point of civil unrest; others, like the sniper from a minority Christian community in Chant of the White Phoenix, are trapped inside the infernal horror of civil war. Nadia is inspired by the moving testimony of a young Yezidi woman, Nadia Murad Basee Taha, delivered to the UN Assembly. In I Let Him In, a young Israeli/American woman is caught in contradiction with the nationalistic discourse she went out to defend. There are outsiders to the region also, like the war journalist in Vertical Vision—inspired by Marie Colvin, the Sunday Times correspondent killed whilst reporting on the siege of Homs in Syria—is consumed by the need to bear witness to the suffering of others. The other outsider’s voice, the marketer in The 153rd in Line, is a viciously satirical one of the opportunist who out of expediency and self interest is the apologist and beautician of a spent autocracy.”



Photo courtesy of Reuters/Cairo

In the Eruptive Mode – JAN 24 – 28 @ Emerson Paramount Center, Robert J. Orchard Stage

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