Up there

23. november 2022
Up there premiers at Theater an der Ruhr on December 3rd.
Art by Mohamad Omran
This is an update to:
Up There

“Up there” is about the difficulties a Syrian author living in exile has when he writes about a true incident that took place in a women’s prison in Syria in the 1990s.

At the time, a group of political prisoners performed Henrik Ibsen’s play «Lady from the sea.» This challenged the authority of the prison administration, which tried to stop the performance.

«Could Henrik Ibsen have dreamt that one of his plays would be performed by political prisoners in a women’s prison more than a hundred years later?»
The women were released in 1991, but were not allowed to talk about what they had experienced during their years in prison. When the Syrian revolution started in 2011, they thought their time had come and they had to leave the country and flee the violence of the dictator who is still in power today. 

The author’s character does not succeed in convincing him of the artistic or political value of his project: why should he tell the story of these women from his present position in exile? He is finally shown a way out of this creative crisis by an imagined young woman who saw the performance in Duma prison back in1991. Now, twenty years later and shortly before her release, she begins to tell the author what she experienced back then. He is supposed to follow her stories and try to find these women, the former political prisoners who performed the play back then.

He succeeds in meeting some of them and having them tell him their terrible experiences they had to go through in prison. With each telling, a new chapter of the story is revealed.

Text: Wael Kadour
Director: Mohamad Al Rashi and Wael Kadour
Stage: Jean Christophe Lanquetin
Sound: Khaled Kurbeh
Light: Toni Mersch
Video: Guevara Namer

Performers: Hala Bdier, Wejdan Nassif, Hend Alkahwaji and Wael Kadour.

In Arabic with German subtitles.

Supported by: Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes NRW and Ibsen Scope, Ettijahat-Independent Culture, Culture Resource (Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy)