Will Jordanian theatre keep functioning only in times of festivals?

With Secret Ink - Amman - Exclusive

A human being is born from Rukam, and then his story begins. This is what silent Algerian play “GPS” delivers to the viewer who follows shows on the stage of “Hani Sanoub” in Amman. The play won the Sheikh Muhammad Al Qasimi Award for Theatre at the Arab Authority for Theatre Festival held on Jordanian ground.

Algeria wins the Arab Theatrical Authority bid. Photo by Sami Al-Zoubi.

The story of ”GPS” begins from the kiss of life that gives birth to children from “nothingness” creating a human who enters into conflicts between his principles by whom he should be raised. The human is shocked at the school stage facing a conflict between a teacher, who wears a mask the human does not have, and a dictating authority who deceives them and shapes them in a way upper hands want.

The scene from GPS theatrical show. Photographed by Essa Abu Othman.

The Algerian director Mohamed Cherchel believes that the search of moving from inanimate objects to humanization is the core of our eternal being. The director wanted to transfer this idea with his silent show that achieved an outstanding audience interaction in an attempt to understand the human being. Cherchell says, ”All facts are hostages to relativity, and it is a game of dialectical paradoxes”.

The scene from GPS. Photo by Issa Abu Othman.

The theatre is making serious attempts to return. The Arab Theatre Authority gave performances in three Jordanian theaters: Hani Sanoub, Al Shams, and Al Hussein Cultural Theater”. The platforms were chosen in an attempt to revitalize the three theaters without addressing to the thriving “Royal Cultural Center”.

Jordanian theatres get attention only in times of official and unofficial festivals. None of existing theatres in the country have succeeded in changing this situation so far. However, “The Sun Theatre” and its director Abd al-Salam Qiblat decided to reactivate non-commercial theaters and create interesting performances at a small ticket price. Qubailat said that “The Sun” offers daily and monthly shows in order to present them to people, rather than to artists and their colleagues. He added that the audience stands at the box office, pays to enjoy a theatrical performance, and respects the stage. Qubailat criticized the festivals as he sees them implementing political or personal agendas without professionalism, especially in arbitration of Arab theater prizes, pointing out that majority of arbitration committees are controlled and have no decision. The director told that these festivals do not provide a theatrical space for people.

Every year the “Free Theatre” group holds an annual international festival attended by theatre lovers from all over the world. Jordanian artist and director Ali Alyan said, “The Free Theatre has broken the monopoly of festivals to provide a good theatrical mobility. … Thus, it presents quality theatrical content that impacts on Jordanian viewers aesthetically and content-wise to achieve the equation of establishing festivals and reaching positive outcomes.

Jordanian theatre witnessed the first theatrical performance in 1918. The century has passed without much interest.

Jordanian historian Rox Al-Azizi and Father Anton Al-Haihi who came from Palestine presented the first play at the Latin Monastery Theater in Madaba where Al-Azizi and Al-Haihi launched the Jordanian theatre and opened a curtain for another generation of pioneers who contributed to building the theatrical movement.

By Ahmad Ghalayini.

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