There was a dispute over whether “Tanfeseh” should be considered a play (Twitter)
It was expected that the play “Tanfisa” will be shown on the Al-Madina Theater in Hamra, Beirut, but the team decided to turn the street into a “stage” for its performance. There were many accounts reported by activists on social media about the reason behind the failure of the play.
The most prominent accounts were the arrest of a Lebanese General Security patrol against the backdrop of criticism of President Michel Aoun and the political class, which prompted the work team to complete the show on the sidewalk.
And spread on social media, videos of the performance of the play on Hamra Street, accompanied by angry comments denouncing what happened, placing it in the circle of repression, silencing and assaulting public freedoms.
The director of Al-Madina Theater, artist Nidal Al-Ashkar, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that “Al-Madina Theater is transferring professionals within the activities of the “Mishkal” festival, including “Tanfesa” by director Awad Awad.
Al-Ashqar explained, “Tanfeseh is not a theatrical performance, but rather a group of female professionals who were collected in a very beautiful frame of songs that were presented on the city’s theater, but we did not take permission from the censors because we did not consider it a theatrical, and therefore we did not violate the law, especially since entry to the professional is free and the people of Young artists show Friday evening and there was supposed to be a second show on Saturday.”
She added: “General Security came to inquire about the case of Tanfeesa, so we told him that we did not consider it a play, but they asked us to obtain permission to perform, because he wrote on the show’s announcement “almost a theatrical”, that is, playing on words, after which the elements left and did not enter the theater or be exposed. to anyone or stop the director or forcibly prevent the show, and we told them on Monday the director will go and talk to them, and we will not present the second show on Saturday, because we did not take permission from the censors.”
Al-Ashqar continued, “The artists went out to the street at night and started chanting songs, including: I am not a thief, I am not oppressed.” And the crisis of gasoline, electricity, water, non-citizenship, and the various problems they suffer from, which they expressed during the days of the revolution and in the protest movements.
Al-Ashqar stressed that her position on censorship has been known for fifty years and her strong opposition to it, and from the day of the play “Majdaloun” (security forces entered the theater and stopped the show and arrested the work team because of the opposition content that upset the ruling class).
She added, “Free expression is very important, especially at the present time, and people have to feel that they are able to express their anger, so we open the theater to translate these feelings and suffering and leave the youth to express themselves freely and to feel that there is a place in Beirut that they can resort to to express themselves.”
Al-Ashqar pointed out that “we will continue in the studios, and God willing, the public security and the state will understand that the theater is a free place for people to express themselves, just as it happens on television screens and in the contents of newspapers and newspapers.”