Theater is the father of art… The philosophy of rebellion in Tawfiq al-Jabali's “Crazy”.

Paris – In establishing theater as the father of the arts because it brings together so many of them, Tunisian theater director Taufik Jebali draws on Shakespeare's tragedy as well as religious hymns, Greek mythology, and Dante Allegri's “Divine Comedy.” Tried to combine the poems of. The play “The Madman”, which he presented over the weekend in a series of performances. at Dar Tunis in Paris, to make it a title for unique creative and dramatic works that draw from major philosophical and poetic texts based on rebellion, liberation and Difference.

The play, adapted from the Lebanese poet Gibran Khalil Gibran's immortal text “The Crazy One” – written in English at the beginning of the last century (1918) and translated into Arabic by Antonius Bashir – connects al-Jabali. and unites. As with Gibran's immortal text, one is certain of his certainty that there is nothing more eloquent than this creative icon and this spiritual and poetic voice. Philosophical and mystical, coming from the world of “Ascended Essence”, to bring it to mind as a real-time expression of the isolation, desolation, violence and disorientation of today's world.

Therefore, Al-Jabali justified the return of this work – which was first presented in 2001 – in his presentation of the play, by saying: “We present this work again after more than 20 years of its production. Why do we do, because we need a voice that demands humanity, that calls for mercy, a voice that overpowers the voices of domination, exclusion and oppression… a spiritual voice.”

Philosophy of rebellion and liberation

The rhythm begins in a quiet, dramatic space that oscillates between black and white, and soon we hear a voice from behind the curtain repeating the riddle of life, “I came to say a word and I will say it.. .And if death comes before I say it, tomorrow it will say, brings me back,” Before the Dawn of the story and by 3 actresses (Amal Al-Awaini, Amina Al-Badiri, Yasmin Al-Dimasi) Birth breaks with reading, those immersed in darkness, searching for light and truth, asking philosophical questions full of contemplation and wisdom, and scented with their laughter and thoughtful activities while running.

As soon as the actor Marwan Al-Ruwain enters, dancing to the music, reveling in the glow of the beginning, floating amidst a sea of ​​darkness and the play of contradictory light, the plot and movement develop rapidly and the rhythm accelerates But he is haunted by ambiguity and shifting from one panel to the next, devoid of personality and will in the mask that director Tawfik al-Jabali wears for him in every appearance on screen. Wood.

Crazy game at Dar Tunis in Paris
Part of the play “The Madman” at Dar Tunis in Paris (Al Jazeera)

This is life with its many masks and contradictions, between light and darkness, good and evil, joy and sadness, hope and despair, faith and disbelief, beauty and ugliness.

The beauty that turned into ugliness and the ugliness that turned into beauty in a masked, contradictory, upside-down world that runs on its head, is revealed to the viewer through a play of voices from behind the curtain who come to tell them Returns Strange Transformation: “Beauty and Ugliness met one day at the seashore, and each of them said to the other, 'Can you swim?' Then they took off their clothes and went into the water. After a while, Ugliness But she returned and put on Beauty's clothes, and went on her way. Beauty also came from the sea, and she could not find her clothes, and was too ashamed to be naked, so she put on Ugliness's gown and went on her way. . Since that day, men and women make mistakes in getting to know each other whenever they meet. However, there is a group of people who recognize a beauty's face despite her clothes, and some people There are those who recognize faces, their ugliness, and the clothes they wear cannot hide them from their eyes.

Ideas, stories, philosophical aphorisms, and poetic interludes, adapted from Gibran's original text, flow spontaneously, sometimes from the mouths of the actors, sometimes in the background of wall screens, and sometimes from restored voices coming from a distance. With All That Give shows another depth between the lines and pushes the viewer to the farthest reaches of the dream to discover his fractured, stressed, frightened, sad, happy and dreaming self. And dancers, singers and madmen, no doubt about it.

Let the viewer know from the outset that he or she is facing a work that initiates a philosophy of difference, and a text that digs into the consciousness of the herd and seeks to deviate from the norm by asking leading questions without fear or arrogance. Attempts are made, but these questions and this excavation are only done in a spirit that is at once artistic, philosophical, satirical, and profound, promising hope and provoking revulsion. Despite all the contradictions of reality, in addition to the successful scenography of directors Tawfiq al-Jabali and Hatem al-Farchishi, and the design and embroidery of the scenes with various dramatic effects such as shadow fantasy techniques.

In parallel with all this, the viewer reads in the background on the screen this talisman that will excite him and accompany him throughout the hall of the play: “The soul of the philosopher is in his mind … The soul of the poet is in his heart … The artist The soul of the dancer is in his voice… and the soul of the dancer is in his body.

text within text

Perhaps the spiritual, philosophical atmosphere in this distinctive, creative theatrical work was embodied through paintings, dances, lighting, decorations and words, but it became most clearly evident before the eyes and with the sweet, magical music of Iranian artists. reached its peak. Zakir Hussein and the Tunisian Najib al-Sharadi, a marriage between dreams and tension and poetry and wise reflections.

Music and compositions that stunned the audience, entered their bodies, and carried their ecstasy into the supernatural world and dream heaven. Music that expressed the flowing rivers of the soul and its thunder when embracing the world of the eternal, so it became images, light and unspoken text within the text. It is the great human philosophical values ​​of Gibran's writings, put into singing and strings, paintings and the creations of the inimitable director Tawfiq. Al-Jabaali.

Tawfik al-Jabali, theater director in Jerusalem
Theater director Tawfiq al-Jabali in Jerusalem (Al-Jazeera)

The fusion of art and the interweaving of theatre, literature, poetry, philosophy, painting, singing, music and dance in this creative, declassified work begins to confuse the audience and make them ask: are we seeing real decoration, real animated Are the characters facing a professional screenwriter, and a distinguished director, or are we facing visual, sensory and emotional chaos and waves of crazy, crashing ideas? It shatters our intuitive assumptions and tries to pull us out of the caves of illusory intuitions, building to demolish and digging deep into our subconscious to fill in?

In establishing the essential role of theatre, art, creativity, genius and madness as the final answer, the absolute truth, the port of arrival, the closed identity and the methods of human liberation from the ordinary man, so the voice from behind the curtain with the words of Gibran. Then shouts:

“I wrote a line on islands in the sand
I found nothing on the beaches except my ignorance

On the islands I wrote a line on the sand
I gave him all my soul and mind

I returned to the tide to read and clarify
I found nothing on the beaches except my ignorance.

dig deep into yourself

It is an artistic synthesis of human philosophical dramaturgy based on shaking certainties and beliefs and digging deep into the depths of the unstable human soul. The self, struggles with its temptations, overcomes its desires, breaks its chains, and rebels against its subjection and dogma, preaching the philosophy of difference.

The sound of the choir rises and falls from behind the curtain with the sequence of images and the generation of ideas. With an ingenious technical trick on the part of the director, the sound rises, turns, moves away, comes closer, chokes, becomes clear, sad, happy, laughs, and cries, screams, ” You taught me yourself, and taught me that the tangible is half of the perceptible, and that what we understand is part of our will. You taught me myself, and taught me to love.” The company of what people hate and what they hate, and it showed me that love is not a quality in the boyfriend, but in the girlfriend. My soul taught me and taught me not to be happy with praise and not to be discouraged by blame.”

The voices blend and the audience becomes lost, wondering if it is their muffled voices that they cannot shout in front of everyone, and the fantasies dancing in front of them enhanced by light? They then got confused by the question, are these the pictures taken of us below? Is this the voice of reason or the voice of madness? Is it the voice of the subconscious mind or of the conscious mind? Is it the voice of the exiled poet-intellectual-philosopher whom the tribe no longer recognizes as its voice and official spokesperson? Is that the sound of Joseph shouting from the bottom of the well? Is this the voice of our absent humanity? Is this the voice of our animality and cruelty emerging in nature?

This fascinating creative combination raises many burning questions, from which the viewer does not wake up until he finds himself distraught, naked, screaming, singing, dancing, crazy, in front of the mirror of his deeper, hidden self. Of the pits of his unconsciousness, which is lying in oblivion.

Crazy game at Dar Tunis in Paris
Crazy drama at Dar Tunis in Paris (Al Jazeera)

thinner than a spider's web

The play ends with a meditative interlude that was repeated more than once in the work hall, with a strangled voice and a muffled cry from behind the curtain: “I am a stranger in this world, my friend. I am a stranger, my friend..my friend..my friend…”, so that the sound keeps spinning and echoing on the horizon. The vast space echoes with it recalling the Creator's call to eternity and his constant sense of isolation and “predestination”. Cry of Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi centuries ago: “The strangest of strangers is he who has become a stranger in his own homeland.”

If Gibran imbued his “mad” literary text with language choices, poetic images, contemplation, introspection, philosophical allusion and winged imagination, al-Jabali bridged the gap between the two texts with all his dramatic experience and artistic spade. Tried to bridge: the established literary text and the obsessive dramatic text – and every true creative work is based on doubt, obsession and lack of understanding. Certainty – and for all this, we are not exaggerating when we say that Tawfiq al-Jabali succeeded to a great extent in creating a new, unique creative synthesis called “al-Majnun”, in which all Styles and artistic and creative forms merge. He was able to achieve this spontaneous transformation through smart, poetic writing based on abridgment, condensation and painstaking deletion.

Therefore, we do injustice to this distinctive creative work and this example and synthesis when we limit it to the narrow term “drama” – even though theater is the father of all the arts – because it defies every attempt at definition and simple superficial description. Rejects, and deviates from, every well-known classical dramatic structure, artistic plot, and unstable and dynamic characters. The setting is consistent with the events, and there is a story that moves between knot and resolution, and there is a knowledgeable narrator and a capable director who moves the events and characters behind the scenes.

It is a road without access, a sea without port, rain without clouds, love without salvation, or it is simply the cry of a mad genius trying to assimilate the wisdom from the spider's web in the immortal saying of Gibran. “There is a thread thinner than a spider's web between madness and genius.

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