How Nancy Wished That Everything Was An April Fool’s Joke

This performance tells the story of the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990), through a simple narrative form, the monologue.
The 4 actors take turns narrating their experiences, speaking only to the audience, while sitting uncomfortably next to each other.

The 90 minute show combines their stories, where these 4 militias, get killed, only to be reanimated, sometimes moving between political parties only to be killed again. Central to the design concept was the ambition to find order in chaos; as is always the case in a civil there are no winners, and hence the history of a civil war is always down to the point of view of its narrator — The set presents a sort of factual feel, tries to contain and make sense of the subjective, using geometry on a perfectly symmetrical island. The script is projected on the floor, although nobody knows if the actors are reading it and talking of their own accord. Their presence is uncomfortable, they shift and turn in their tight couch that barely fits them. The posters, all sitting above the characters, all equal sized, change and animate with the action sometimes cannibalising each other designs, sometimes borrowing from each other, always looking more at peace that the real characters.

In the Japan premiere, we had to create additional material to explain what a martyr poster is, and purpose it serves, as we understood, only there, that this visual language is only familiar in countries where conflict is rife.

The sound, made visible with elaborate tubes that connect the image to its martyr, plays an important role in giving a voice to the character when alive — on the couch talking or dead — and idealised in a poster.

Set design, Poster Design, technical production:
Samar Maakaroun
Tokyo / 2007 — Premiere

Text: Fadi Toufiq and Rabih Mroué
Direction: by Rabih Mroué
Cast: Rabih Mroué, Hatem Imam, Ziad Antar, Lina Majdalanie
Animation: Ghassan Halwani
Photography: Kohei Matsushima
Produced by:
Tokyo International Arts Festival;
The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts, Ashkal Alwan
La Ferme du Buisson — Scène Nationale de Marne-la-Vallée
Festival d’Automne à Paris


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