The Pretenders in Aleppo or how theatre saved my life
At the heart of her work is an urgent need to reconstruct a form of collective memory. Chrystèle Khodr takes inspiration from The Pretenders by Ibsen to highlight the social and political situation in Lebanon, her mother country.
In The Pretenders, Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) looks back at the twenty-year civil war that led to peace being re-established in Norway in the 13th century. Ordalie begins at the end of a production of this historic work played by four Lebanese actors. However, the moment of calm and togetherness that they are lulled into by this theatrical happy ending does not last long.
Taking inspiration from the characters they have just been playing, the four men try to break the cycle of tragedy and impunity that has been part of their everyday lives ever since they were children. Over the course of one night, they begin to believe in salvation, in the future. They decide to protect a pile of ruins from the bulldozers which are set to raze it to the ground at daybreak. They will fight to defend this place, which contains proof that a war crime has been committed, with everything they have…