The curtain was drawn yesterday evening on performances of the play “Al-Aṣma’ī Baqūh,” held at the amphitheater of the Cultural Village (Katara), which was organized by the Ministry of Culture represented by the Doha Theater Affairs as part of the Doha International Book Fair. The play deals in a purposefully comic form with the issue of copyright and Arab brain drain, using the famous incident related to Al-Asma’i’s poem “Ṣawt ṣafīr al-bulbul.” The play is co-written by Abdel Rahim Al Seddiqi and Tayseer Abdullah, and directed by Saad Burshid. The acting cast includes the prominent actor Ghazi Hussein and actors Hediya Saeed and Nasser Al-Momen, in addition to a group of young actors, including Shuail Al-Kuwari, Mohamed Al-Sayegh, Salem Al-Mansouri, Khaled Khamis, Khaled Rabea, Ali Al-Khalaf, Ali Al-Sharshni, and the rising actor Munther Thani, among others.
Tayseer Abdullah, head of the Communication and Media Unit at the Theater Affairs Center and co-author of the play, said: “The presence of His Excellency Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Hamad Al-Thani, Minister of Culture, at the play’s debut, which heralds a prosperous theatrical season, God willing, and his support and direct guidance, were highly appreciated by artists and actors. The signs of auspiciousness began with the admiration and praise of His Excellency the Prime Minister for the restoration of the Qatari theater as a vibrant expression of Qatari culture, when he expressed his admiration for the return of the stars to the stage. We are very proud of this work despite the difficulty of production, and we hope that theatrical activity will return to its full vitality.”
On the other hand, actress Saeed said: “Challenge accompanied this work from the beginning, considering that it coincided with the book fair; and there was also fear that one month would not suffice to perform the rehearsals.” She mentioned that her role in the play was important in the sense that she acted two roles: the narrator’s and that of the character of conscience, which she described as one of the most difficult roles she has ever played, because it is the conscience of the living human being, emphasizing that she was very apprehensive at first, but the admiration and applause of the audience made her feel proud. She stressed that she was still learning and that the success that was achieved was not the fruit of one person’s effort; rather, it was the effort of the entire team, consisting of the director, author, assistant director and artists, expressing her hope that this work will be a stepping stone for further experiments.
Actor Khalaf said: “It is difficult to describe my feeling after being chosen as part of this distinguished group of professional and young artists, and for my role in the play ‘The Minister: Father of Spoils,’ adding: “We felt joy and success as soon as the curtain rose and the audience interacted, which suggested the beginning of a promising return of theater and competition in theatrical works.” He further said: “We hope that theater, theatrical festivals, and theatrical competition between us and fellow artists in all Arab countries will return. We trust the vision of the State and the Ministry of Culture to reactivate the role of theater.”
Actor Al-Sharshni said: “We saw joy in the eyes of the audience, and I am proud of my participation as the play’s assistant director. I was delighted to be back on stage and to see this meeting of actors belonging to different generations.” He thanked the Ministry of Culture, and expressed his optimism for the strong return of theatrical activity.
For his part, actor Al-Sayegh said: “I am happy with my participation in the play “Al-Aṣma’ī Baqūh,” which I consider a return to theatrical activity and the return of the audience to the theater after a long pause. I was also happy to participate with a select group of talented actors, such as Ghazi Hussein, Hediya Saeed, and Nasser Al-Momen, as well as actors from my generation and new ones who are the product of the University Theater Festival.” Al-Sayegh expressed hope that future theatrical works will be better and more sophisticated.