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Meet the exhibtion "Marwan" with "A Aventura da cabeça do escravo Jaber" de Sa’adallah Wannous (1941-1997)
25 SEP 2014
Throughout the course of his artistic career, Marwan has woven networks of creative complicity with various poets and playwrights. He believes that poetry and drama have a fascinating potential for political expression which painting is unable to rival. Literature is so important to Marwan that if he hadn’t been a painter, he would have chosen literature as his preferred form of expression and creation. In this context, on September 25, in the space of the galleries of the Marwan exhibition and in partnership with the "Readings in the Monastery" programme, of the S. João National Theatre, we invite the general public to take part in the reading of the stage play, "The Adventure of the Slave Jabir’s Head”, by the great Syrian playwright Sa'adallah Wannous (1941-1997). The play is designed to be read outside the theatre auditorium, with audience participation. Foreseeing that the themes of his work would uphold their contemporary relevance, Wannous wrote his play leaving spaces open to the audience, to their epoch and circumstances, thus enabling them to take part in the construction of his text. What will be the impact of the shared reading of this text on the experiencing of Marwan’s paintings?


Sa'adallah Wannous was born in 1941 in Bahr al-Hosain, and died on May 15 in Damascus, Syria. A playwright, producer and critic, he is considered to be one of the greatest playwrights of the Arab world. His plays combine the use of traditional forms of Arabic literature - the short story in particular - with Western dramatic techniques, such as distancing, used by the German playwright Bertolt Brecht. Wannous graduated in journalism from Cairo University, and then continued his studies in France, where he was influenced by various trends and schools of European theatre, in particular by playwrights such as Jean Anouilh, Brecht, Eugene Ionesco and Erwin Piscator. After his return to Syria, Wannous worked as an editor and critic for the Syrian Ministry of Education. He was the editor of the arts and culture section of the Syrian newspaper Al-Baath and the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir. At the end of the 1970s, he helped set up and taught at the Damascus Theatre Institute. His work as a playwright began in the 1960s, exploring the theme of the relationship between the individual, society and power. He was deeply shaken by the results of the Israeli-Arab wars. In his early stories and one act plays, he examined themes of power and corruption and the need for personal involvement in political life. In 1969, along with other playwrights, Wannous supported and accompanied the emergence of the Arab Theatre Festival, in Damascus, that was followed by playwrights from throughout the Arab world. In this festival, Wannous introduced his "theatre of politicization" to replace the traditional "political theatre" - aiming to foster a more active role for theatre in the process of political and social change. His key early works include Hanthala's Journey from Slumber to Consciousness (1978), A Night Party for June 5 (1968), in which several actors were placed in the audience to provoke the actors on stage and to engage the audience in the dialogue, and Elephant, The King of All Times (1969), a dramatisation of the effects of despotism. Two other works - The King is the King (1977) and The Adventure of the Slave Jabir’s Head (1969), are based on stories adapted from the Thousand and One Nights. Wannous abandoned the Arab Writers Union, in Syria, in support of the writer Adonis (Adunis, the pseudonym of Ahmad Said de Ali), who was expelled from the organization due to his liberal attitudes toward Israel. In 1982, in the aftermath of the Israeli invasion of Beirut, Wannous stopped writing for a decade. He returned to writing, in the early 1990s, when he wrote The Rape (1990), a play about the Israeli-Arab conflict, Fragments from History (1994), Rituals of Signs and Transformations (1994) and Mirage Epic (1996). In 1996, he was selected by UNESCO and the International Theatre Institute, to present the annual speech of celebration of International Theatre Day (March 27). 

  • LocationSerralves Museum
  • Schedule21h00 - 22h00
  • Days25 SEP 2014

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Rua D. João de Castro, 210
4150-417 Porto Portugal
41º9'35.40"N
8º39'35.35"W
Serralves