The Australian premiere of internationally-acclaimed Syrian production While I Was Waiting is set to reshape the way Australian audiences think about the war-torn country.
Performed in Arabic with English surtitles, the production follows the story of 30-year-old Taim, who is left in a coma after being brutally beaten under mysterious circumstances while crossing one of the security check-points widespread in Damascus.
As his family and friends try to make sense of what has happened to him, they are forced to confront painful realities as long-buried secrets and complicated relationships are revealed. On a two-tiered stage, the audience watches Taim’s loved ones gather around his hospital bed, while his spirit simultaneously observes them from above. In joining his voice to theirs, together they attempt to understand the upheaval in their everyday lives.
Taim’s coma is a metaphor for war-ravaged Syria, a country hovering between hope and despair, life and death. Celebrated Syrian playwright Mohammad Al Attar and director Omar Abusaada masterfully humanise a political situation, offering a gripping portrait of ordinary characters facing ordinary problems in a world turned strange and cruel – and in doing so, powerfully connecting Syrian people with the rest of the world.
OzAsia Festival Artistic Director Joseph Mitchell said: “While I Was Waiting was a standout theatre event across Europe and North America last year. Staged on a twotiered set with an incredible cast of actors, the production gives us an insight into the lives of everyday people trying to cope with the impact of the civil war in Syria. Presenting the Australian premiere of this important and influential work was made possible through support from the Australia Arab Council and I hope that Australian audiences will have the opportunity to learn more about people and cultures from the Arab world by seeing this very intimate and moving performance.”
While I Was Waiting will make its Australian premiere as part of Adelaide Festival Centre’s OzAsia Festival on Tuesday 30 October at Dunstan Playhouse.
Arab arts, dialogue and community engagement at OzAsia Festival has received grant funding from the Council for Australian-Arab Relations of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Further information about the Council for Australian-Arab Relations is available here: www.dfat.gov.au/caar
Tickets can be purchased through BASS 131 246 or online: ozasiafestival.com.au
High-resolution images and media kits can be downloaded via dropbox here.
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