Goethe-Institut Bangladesh, in cooperation with the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy staged the theatre production, “Oh My Sweet Land” on November 12 at the Experimental Hall premises of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Segunbagicha in the city.
The play was a one-hour act and a one-woman show based on the testimony that the performing artist and writer Corinne Jaber, and director Amir Nizar Zuabi, gathered in the overcrowded refugee camps of Lebanon and Jordan. It depicts the state of the humanitarian crisis in Syria through the eyes of a half-Syrian, Paris-dwelling woman. The woman flees to the Middle East in pursue of her refugee activist lover, Ashraf, who has disappeared. During her search she encounters the abandoned Syrians who have become silent bearers of the cruelty of the war.
Corinne Jaber and Amir Nizar Zuabi intended to exhibit the perseverance of all those who had to flee the country and those who had to stay behind. The refugees’ only remaining hope was god and Jaber explains: “The Syrians are a nation completely abandoned by the rest of the world and they know it. Nobody else is listening.” This production remains to be a must see for anyone craving a better grasp of the Syrian conflict and the human landscape surrounding it.
While recounting her quest-story onstage, she prepares and cooks kubah, a traditional Syrian dish, as if to calm her agitation with the muscle memory of this ritual, but intimations of atrocity start to gather around the slap of raw meat and the sizzle of boiling oil. Her character announced each destination that she encountered in her desperate search, and in this way we are transported from Paris to Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Her vocal range allows her to bring to life men and women, as well as communities and street scenes, with ease. In Jaber’s words, the play is important because: “it talks about the world we live in, right now, at this very moment, in a place not very far away.”