Zoukak Sidewalks

suite42 bei Zoukak Sidewalks, Beirut: Open Studio I und II

Talk, Workshop, Open Studio »Hussein« / 8th – 13th of October 2013
The Work of suite42: 2009—2013 + Fantasy Density
Work Presentation & Talk

Tuesday 8th, 2013, 7 p.m.

Open Episodes + Travelling Elements: For an experiencial, political, complex, poetical theatre practice combining textwork, movement, music and visual components.

After developing these methods over two years Lydia will share the experiences and present video examples of three theatre productions. As a director and dramaturg Lydia works in the context of post-Wall Germany, originially from East Berlin, and the postdramatic theatre dramaturgy after Brecht und Heiner Müller. Her international company suite42 focus on the effect of violence, war and migration on the individual and society, and have recently concentrated on working with authors from Syria, Palestine and Marocco.

Reality is limited to physical rules. History as a linear concept is dead and must be buried consciously. In our minds and dreams we surpass them both constantly and have our own clear, instinctive understanding for these processes. To access this part of the mind in the theatre we must achieve a similar density as our fantasy.

In a rational de-spiritualised society, in which individualization is encouraged through capitalistic mechanisms, a political conscience and individual freedom gets lost easily. As a life experience theatre offers an opportunity of becoming the author of a unique self-experience when partaking of the performance. Accessing the mind on the fantastic level can create an understanding that enters the rational level from behind and retrieves an independent happiness in the social achievement.

The two areas of practical exploration are live-improvised performance episodes that follow certain rules on the basis of established figures and relationships, and the multiple developing use of different elements: text fragments, positions and objects. The dialectic of improvisation versus representation on the one hand, and the use of elements in other than their original function on the other creates a tension that can lift the story outside of reality into a realm of sensual rather than rational perception. The dialectic approach becomes the connection point of intellectual work and practical playfulness.

Open Episodes + Travelling Elements
2-day practical Workshop for theatre makers

Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th, 10-5 p.m.

Live-Improvisation & text fragments / positions / music / objects as rhythmical points.
Experimentation with dramaturgy, creative writing and performance-composition.

1. We sketch figures from each others biographical details. We develop relationships between figures. We develop a set of rules. Performers begin in their own spaces and follow (gentle) commands from a “game-keeper”. They develop physical positions for their figures, they choose and use objects, they act upon the relationships. With all these ingredients they build narratives without precontemplation, discovering them as they go along. In this way performers and audiences partake of a new real-time experience together without the necessity of logic.

2. We develop a short story. We extract the essential meanings and charge elements — words, positions and objects — with it. Then we thread them through the small piece — in changing their usage they become agile metaphors that reflect and elaborate the original meaning. They also act as rhythmical points guiding or diverting attention, and challenging habits of seeing and perspective.

3. We combine the two: we work with the collected outcomes of 1. and 2. and elaborate on them. We half the group and prepare two short performance sessions, so that each half can be performers and spectators.

Open Studio: »Hussein« by Omar Abi Azar
work in progress — a cooperation of suite42 and zoukak

Saturday 12th, 8 p.m.

Hussein, the hero of the piece, is born conscious of his obligation to pass into the next world without much regard for this one… — An exploration into the nature of religiosity, its life-destructive forces and true faith this is the first collaboration of Omar Abi Azar and Lydia Ziemke, combining their dramaturgical expertise and theatre practice.

Open Studio II: Hussein – A Text Written by Omar Abi Azar

Saturday, 15th of February 2014

A collaboration of Omar Abi Azar, Lydia Ziemke, Lucy Ellinson, Junaid Sarieddeen, Claire Schirck and Khyam Allami

The 2014 edition of Sidewalks is picking up from where it left off in 2013. German theater maker Lydia Ziemke (suite 42) will be in residence at Zoukak Studio with 2 of her collaborators (Lucy Ellinson and Claire Schirck) on the second phase of the collaborative work Hussein.

Hussein, the tragedy of the should-be modern hero. Maria, the comedy of the would-be postmodern liberated enlightened individualistic woman. The politicization of death confronted with the liberalization and economization of life.

Hussein is born conscious of his obligation to pass into the next world without much regard for this one – there lie his rewards and happiness, not here. In contrast to Hussein, Maria is programmed for happiness in this world. She is obliged to fulfill, succeed, use all her freedom and choice and talents. In contrast to the tangible political and religious violence in his context, she is exposed to the violence of commercial dependency and individualization leading to ever more faithful followers of logo and product. Together they consider their options.

The text of Hussein was published by Amers Editions, Beirut in 2012.

Open Episodes + Travelling Elements
Open Studio I: »Hussein« by Omar Abi Azar
Open Studio II: »Hussein«
Zoukak Theater Company

became in contact with theater director, dramaturge and curator Lydia Ziemke in 2009 when she and a member of Zoukak, Maya Zbib, were both taking part in the Cultural Leadership International Program, launched by the British Council that year. Ever since that encounter Lydia became an important collaborator and supporter of Zoukak. We had the pleasure of inviting Lydia for a short residency in our studio in Beirut in 2010, where she gave a dramaturgy workshop that marked several participants very deeply. The conversations continued, with Lydia visiting Zoukak’s performances in Beirut, Jordan and London and provoking discussions about the role of theater as a political platform and the real meaning of cross cultural collaboration in today’s world. In 2012 Zoukak was invited to perform “Silk Thread” in the Voicing Resistance Festival that Lydia took part in curating at the Ballhaus Naunynstrasse, Berlin. This year Zoukak is organizing a pilot program of an international platform entitled Zoukak Sidewalks, and are delighted that Lydia is part of this program.

Zoukak Sidewalks

is a point of encounter providing a shared space between international artists, local practitioners, students and interested audiences. Through a program of artist talks, workshops and performances, spread across the year, Zoukak Sidewalks aims to spur debate around performance practices and create the opportunity to get a closer look on processes of creation and thought of various accomplished artists and companies, and possibly produce the momentum for new and unexpected collaborations. Each month a contemporary practitioner or company will be invited for a residency in Zoukak’s studio to share their practice by showing works in progress, performing pieces of finished work (solo or group performances, play-readings), opening up practical work processes through workshops and confronting audiences with their discourse through talks and informal encounters. This year, text based theatre companies, writers for theatre, multi-media theatre makers, performance artists, physical theatre makers, choreographers, and stage directors from France, Australia, USA, Greece, Spain, and the UK will be sharing their work in Zoukak studio.


08. - 13.10.2013
Zoukak Sidewalks: Open Studio I
Zoukak Sidewalks: Open Studio I Zoukak, Beirut, Workshop
Zoukak Sidewalks: Open Studio II
Zoukak Sidewalks: Open Studio II Zoukak, Beirut, Workshop
In Kooperation mit