Theatre: “I Am Not A Vase”

A theatrical production about the strength and resilience of women: inspired by oral history collection, performed by Syrian refugee women and staged in Beirut, Bekaa, Tyre and Stockholm.
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“I Am Not A Vase” is a theatrical play about the strength and courage of women and a celebration of women who refuse to be seen as vases, simple decorative elements with no true societal value or contribution.

Based on stories from oral history collection: ‘Syrian Histories’

Director, Co-writer: Lina Abyad
Co-writer: Madonna Adib
Executive Producer: Reem Maghribi
Assistant Producers: Pascale Jallouf, Mona Bibi
Production Partners: Alexandra Sandels, the Swedish Institute
Translator (into Swedish): Lava Selo

Staged in: Lebanon ad Sweden (2019)
Cast (Lebanon): Amina Moussa, Samah Raslan, Halima Alhaj Ali, Rania Alali, Rahaf Ismail, Aya Malah, Adibe al-Ramadan, Pascale Jallouf, Tala Nachar
Cast (Sweden): Nadia Alhaj, Lava Selo, Dalal Adi, Alexandra Sandels

The play was produced as part of a project that saw Sharq.Org run theatre workshops for Syrian women living in Beirut’s Shatila camp. Several of those women then formed the cast of “I Am Not A Vase” together with two Syrian students of theatre. They met with a Swedish clergywoman in Beirut in the summer of 2018 to discuss patriarchy, gender discrimination and the #MeToo movement and in January 2019 toured Lebanon to put on six performances at different theatres and NGOs in Beirut, Tyre and the Bekaa.

The play was translated into Swedish and a reading was performed in Stockholm in the spring of 2019 by three Syrian-Swedes together with project partner Alexandra Sandels. Over 500 people attended the performances, each of which was followed by an engaging discussion about the power and resilience of women and the value and impact of theatre.

The play was performed in front of over 500 people at venues in Beirut, Bekaa and Tyre, Lebanon in January 2019. Each performance was followed by a discussion during which women and men spoke about their experiences and the value of seeing them enacted on stage.

A reading of the script in Swedish (translated by Lava Selo), complemented by screenings of clips from the production staged in Lebanon, was presented in Stockholm in April 2019. It was followed by an engaging discussion with Syrians and Swedes residing in Stockholm.

Project collaborators and partners include: The Swedish Institute, Alexandra Sandels, Amel, The Arab Institute for Women, the Lebanese American University, Laban Studio, Basmeh & Zeitooneh.

More photographs from the performance can be viewed on the Sharq.Org Facebook page.

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