Carthage Theatre Days honours revolution
By Houda Trabelsi for Magharebia in Tunis – 17/01/12
The 15th edition of the Carthage Theatre Days (JTC) wrapped up last week after a week of shows paying homage to the revolution under a new decentralised cultural programme.
More than 60 performances for January 6th-13th event took place across Tunisia, including in Sousse, Sfax, Gafsa, El Kef, and Medenine. The closing show was held at the Municipal Theatre in Tunis, with the play "You See What I Saw," directed by Tunisian Anouar Alshaafa.
"This edition is based on the preparation of events with names known for their artistic depth, such as Fadhel Jaziri's opening play 'The Man with the Donkey' and Fathi El-Hadaoui, executor and director of the inaugural show for opening day in conjunction with Fatma Ben Saeedan," explained festival director Wahid Saafi.
"And embracing the African side of this international theatrical event is Ezzedine Gannoun in the 'Red Space', affirming that our choosing regions of the republic to participate stems from our conviction of the right of every Tunisian citizen to good culture," he added.
The opening show, "The Man with the Donkey", directed by Fadel Jaziri, was a play inspired by the novelist Ezzeddine Al-Madani's "Revolution of the Man with the Donkey". Jaziri combined choreographed dance, narration, lighting effects and audio technology and, through its plot, evoked the uprising of Sidi Bouzid and the death of Mohamed Bouazizi. This show was held in the Sports Palace in Menzah.
"Poetry was also present in this edition, through participation by a group of poets from Tunisia and several Arab countries," Saafi noted.
For the first time in the festival's history, the streets of the capital also saw diverse activist performances. A huge inaugural show was programmed, focused on a procession teams from the cavalry, security, police, army and national guard as well as theatre troupes touring the main streets of the capital.
"We are very happy with the continuation of the events of the Carthage Festival, which I consider one of the best Arab festivals," theatre lover Monsef Falhi said. "And I think the true revolution that began in Tunisia will be rising up with creativity in the festival this year."
Marouia Ben Jaber, 27, told Magharebia that this year's event should be distinct, saying that "the playwrights and creators must say, in a loud voice, to anyone who wants prohibition or marginalisation of art: 'We are here and we will be the creative voice of Tunisian citizens'."
"What impressed me with this edition is the participation of other Tunisian districts that were marginalised in the era of Ben Ali," Majdi Bel Ghith said. "The citizens of some areas such as Sidi Bouzid, Kasserine and other inland areas do not know of this ancient festival, and this is shameful."
Performers came from across the globe for the event, with actors from Palestine, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Algeria, Libya, UAE, Iraq, Lebanon and Kuwait as well as from France, Italy, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium.
While many applauded the move to include rural areas, Mohamed Ghanem from the Centre for Dramatic Arts of Redeyef in the Gafsa region of southwest Tunisia, said events were poorly attended because of a lack of publicity. He also complained of meagre pay for actors and their transportation.
"Is the Al-Amal Theatre Society in Redeyef burdened by the festival budget?" he went on to ask. "Are amateur societies continuing to experience exclusion and marginalisation, even after the revolution of dignity that was launched from Redeyef in 2008? And is the dream of the Al-Amal Theatre Society in Redeyef to perform shows in international festivals or major cultural events an impossible dream to achieve?" he wondered.
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