a work which left the audience astonished
…Breaking out of the storm of war came a work from Lebanon which left the audience astonished not only by its fine acting by Christelle Nassar and Rola Abla, but its exquisite direction and compelling message staged by Jean G. Daoud from the Dramaturgy and Acting Laboratory in Beirut. What brought the public to a standing ovation was the calm purpose followed by the director and how completely it worked as a piece of theatre. Between Me and Me, There Was She is the story of a woman and to some degree it could be described as the story of all women. The child she is wants to play and dream, and to have the right to dignity and happiness. The child in her pushes her to come out of her silence. At every gesture and every invitation to play she is transported to some terrible moment she has lived through. She tells the degrading story of her life as a child, as an adolescent, and as a married woman. Sometimes, to escape from those fearful memories, she finds herself hurting the child within her and trying to kill her. Eventually, however, she discovers that only the child inside her can make her life complete.
It was inevitable that people attending the next Meeting Point discussion were anxious to know more about Lebanese theatre. Director Jean G. Daoud drew a distressing picture of what the recent war had left behind. He recalled: In the eighties, Lebanon had a very strong theatrical life. Today, many theatres have been bombed and destroyed but people are trying to keep working. Theatre people want to go on, but one thing after another has brought its interruptions. War destroys buildings but, more important, it has also destroyed people of the theatre. We have tried to keep experimental theatre going but we have had our disappointments. At this moment, people are greatly concerned about other matters. The war has destroyed the city’s infrastructures and all efforts are going into essentials, not into theatres. Some of us used to live five minutes away from our theatres but now, with bridges destroyed, it may take us two hours to travel the same distance in Beirut. The war has also left our theatre education system in tatters and the training of actors has been seriously affected. But, despite all the calamities in Lebanon, we believe that theatre can help reconstruct our society.
In the photo: Christelle Nassar in Between Me and Myself: She by Jean G. Daoud (Lebanon).