Bold graphic of stone statue holding a loudspeaker
Image: Molter & Sartor

A  collective of German-based Syrian actors is rehearsing a contemporary adaptation of Georg Büchner’s Danton’s Death. A shattering, political drama, at its centre is a conflict between two giant figures of the French Revolution, Danton and Robespierre.

It is considered to be one of the greatest revolutionary works of European theatre. It is also terribly complex and convoluted, and the translation into Arabic from the German isn’t particularly good. 

The company’s director believes this adaptation of a German classic will secure them funding. But the playwright turned dramaturg was more keen on writing a new play about the everyday lives of Syrian refugees living abroad. 

As the company wrestles with Büchner’s manically intense play, life mirrors art as the two lead actors are caught up in the arguments between the writer and director. 

Between catastrophic line runs and overlong cigarette breaks, the four lock horns about their conflicted views on the Syrian revolution and their roles as artists in exile. 

Rehearsals progress and the tensions and disagreements grow as the company - almost unknowingly - engage more deeply with the themes of the play: What is a revolution? When does it end? Ten years after the Syrian revolution, do they really understand what happened and how they can tell their story? 

Return of Danton is a new play by Syrian playwright Mudar Alhaggi and directed by Omar Elerian. Written and performed in Arabic, the play is a contemporary exploration of how the dynamics of political revolutions - from the French Revolution to the Arab Spring - can be reflected within the politics of the rehearsal room.

Collective Ma’louba is an intercultural theatre lab currently in residence at the Theater an der Ruhr in Mülheim. In its theatre productions, Collective Ma’louba questions the political and social conditions of the Arab world against the background of recent rebellions and penetrates the taboos of Arab and European society. Additional artistic projects of thematic relevance accompany the theatre productions. They work in NRW, Germany and across the world, thus creating transnational meeting places.

تجمّع من الممثلين السوريين المقيمين في برلين يتدرّبون على نسخة معاصرة لعمل جورج بوشنر موت دانتون. وهو دراما سياسيّة مُريعة تدور حول صراع بين شخصيتين عملاقتين في الثورة الفرنسية، دانتون وروبسبيير.

تعتبر هذه الدراما من أهم أعمال الثورة في المسرح الأوروبي. وهي معقدة جداً ومتشعبة، والترجمة إلى العربية ليست بجودة كافية.

يعتقد المخرج بأن العمل على هذه النسخة من العمل الألماني الكلاسيكي سيضمن لهم الدعم المالي. لكن الدراماتورج كان مهتماً بشكل أكبر بكتابة مسرحية جديدة عن حياة اللاجئين السوريين اليومية في الخارج.

بينما تتصارع الفرقة مع عمل بوشنر، تعكس الحياة الفن حيث ينغمس بطلا المسرحية الرئيسيان في النقاشات بين الكاتب والمخرج.

بين المسار الكارثي واستراحات السجائر الطويلة، يتبادل الأربعة أطراف الجدل حول آرائهم المختلفة بخصوص الثورة السورية ودورهم كفنانين في المهجر.

يتقدم التدريب وينمو التوتر والخلاف عندما تتدخل الفرقة ـ ربما بشكل لا إرادي ـ بشكل أكبر في ثيمات العمل: ما الثورة؟ متى تنتهي؟ عشر سنوات بعد الثورة السورية، هل يفهمون فعلاً ما حصل؟ وكيف بمقدورهم أن يسردوا قصّتهم؟

عودة دانتون عمل جديد للكاتب السوري مضر الحجّي من إخراج عمر العريان. السيناريو والأداء باللغة العربية، العمل استكشاف معاصر عن ديناميات الثورات السياسية ـ من الثورة الفرنسية إلى الربيع العربي ـ وكيف يمكن أن تنعكس في سياسة قاعة التدريب.

تجمع مقلوبة هو مخبر مسرحي موجود حالياً في مسرح "ان دير رور" في مدينة مولهايم. في إنتاجه المسرحي يطرح التجمّع الأسئلة حول الظروف السياسيّة والاجتماعية للعالم العربي الكامنة خلف الاحتجاجات ويتجاوز تابوهات المجتمع العربي والأوروبي.

Mudar Alhaggi (*1981) studied theatre studies at The Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damaskus. Alhaggi works as an author and dramaturge, he writes for the radio and TV, pens scripts and leads writing workshops for refugees. He staged Footfalls by Samuel Beckett and the production One Thousand and One Tents, which was developed in a workshop with refugees in Lebanon. In 2013 the production Now T-Here, in which he was involved as author and director (in collaboration with Stella Cristofolini) was presented in Oberhausen and Berlin. Since 2015 he manages Future Stages: A Creative Programme for Emerging Syrian Writers in Lebanon together with Erik Altorfer. In 2015 and 2016 he developed 41 Stunden with Kopp / Nauer / Praxmarer / Vittinghoff, a co-production with Schlachthaus Theater Bern. With Erik Altorfer, he presented another work with adolescent refugees and young people from Graz at Schauspielhaus Graz. Mudar Alhaggi lives in Berlin since summer 2015. Since 2017 he is the artistic director of Collective Ma'louba.

Omar Elerian is a freelance theatre director, writer and dramaturg. Of Italian/Palestinian descent, Omar trained in Italy and then graduated from Lecoq International Theatre School in Paris in 2005. He’s based in London since 2009. He was the resident Associate Director at the Bush Theatre from 2012 to 2019, where he commissioned and directed some of the theatre’s most successful shows. As sole director for the Bush, his credits include smash-hit Misty by Arinzé Kene (Bush and West End), NASSIM by Nassim Soleimanpour (Bush, Traverse Theatre and world tour), Going Through by Estelle Savasta and Islands by Caroline Horton. As Associate Director working alongside Madani Younis, his credits include The Royale by Marco Ramirez, Leave Taking by Winsome Pinnock and Perseverance Drive by Robin Soans. Outside the Bush, he directed Olivier nominated show You’re Not Like The Other Girls Chrissy by Caroline Horton and co-created acclaimed site-specific show The Mill: City of Dreams with Madani Younis for Freedom Studios. In 2020 he co-created Autoreverse with Florencia Cordeu, which opened the Going Global season at Battersea Arts Centre in February. Omar is currently developing projects with the Almeida, National Theatre, Manchester HOME, Staatstheater Mainz, Collective Ma’louba and The Shed in New York. 

Co-presented by Shubbak Festival, Counterpoint Arts, The Lowry and Ettijahat - Independent Culture.
In cooperation with Maxim Gorki Theatre, Berlin. A co-production of Theater an der Ruhr and Shubbak Festival.
Funded by The German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia.



Sun 20 June 2021

7pm BST

90 minutes.
Suitable for 16 years+
Performed in Arabic with English surtitles.
Post show talk BSL interpreted.

Tickets: £0, £5, £15

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On demand

Mon 21 June–Sat 17 July 2021

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