by Strange Fruit (Duraid Abbas, Amar Al Bojrad & Sarah Eisa)
Wouter Hillaert in De Standaard about 1979:
‘1979 doesn’t address you as a zapping occidental, but as a human being. Your belly understands what your head can not grasp’
1979 witnessed events that later caused an eight-year war: In Iraq, Saddam Hussein got the power after the resignation of former president Al-Bakr, while Khomeini rose to power in Iran after the success of the Islamic revolution. Both of these new leaders killed, tortured and suppressed their own people like animals, before engaging in a war with each other. This war came at a great cost in lives and economic damage. A million Iraqi and Iranian soldiers as well as civilians are estimated to have died with many more injured.
The performance 1979 is not about giving you facts. It rather seeks to submerge you in a state of being, created by two artists who were born during this war.
With an ‘installation-dance-performance’ the artists draw the audience into the horrors from the cellars of their memory, where a human life was worth less than a dog’s.
Duraid Abbas Ghaieb is an actor, theatre maker, dancer born in Baghdad in 1980.
Duraid joined the Institute of Fine Arts at the age of 15 to study theatre. After graduating with a Diploma in directing in 2001 he went directly to the College of Fine Arts to undertake a Bachelor of Theatre in 2007. During his degree, Duraid participated in Iraq’s first ever Contemporary Dance workshop and went on to join ‘Iraqi Bodies’, one of the first ever Modern Dance Groups in Iraq. Their first project ‘Crying of my mother’ performed nationally, regionally and internationally. Duraid’s extensive talents include acting in many short films within Iraq and also working as the leading actor in a major feature length film ‘Battle for Haditha,’ directed by Nick Broomfield shot in Jordan in 2007. This film took the prize for the ‘Best Director’ at the Toronto Film Festival in 2007. Duraid is now living in Holland. He worked there with Iraqi Bodies as a dancer. Furthermore he is also working in Belgium as an actor and director, for example in ‘Irakese Geesten’, which won the KBC price for young theatre and was selected for the Flemish-Dutch Theatre Festival 2010.
Amar Al Bojrad was born in Baghdad in 1983. Amar studied dance and scenography at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bagdad from 1999 to 2004. During his studies he danced with the Iraqi National Folk Dance Company of Baghdad. In 2006 he joined Iraqis Bodies and travelled around the world with the production ‘Crying of My Mother’. Since 2010 he is working with Moussem and also participated in Insomnia, an other Iraqi Bodies production.
Sarah Eisa was born in Germany and studied theatre at RITS in Brussels. During and after her studies, she worked at the Royal Flemish Theatre as an actress and a dramaturge for several productions, with directors Ruud Gielens and Johan Dehollander. With theatre group 'tocht' she started to make own productions, supported by the arts centre Monty in Antwerp. She continued to participate in various projects as an actress and performer, like “Saturn II” for the festival “The Game is Up”, “Monde.com” for the Kunstenfestivaldesarts, or “Irakese Geesten”, which won the KBC-price for young theatre and was selected for the “Het Theaterfestival” as one of the ten best performances of 2010 in Flanders.
Together Sarah, Duraid and Amar founded the company Strange Fruit and will tour with 1979.
Text & direction: Duraid Abbas
Choreography: Amar Al Bojrad
Concept: Amar Al Bojrad and Duraid Abbas
Performers: Amar Al Bojrad and Sarah Eisa
Installation: Duraid Abbas, Kristel Van den Heede, Amar Al Bojrad, Hussein Shabeeb;
Music: Roeland Luyten
Video editing: Hamdan Saray
Decor: Hussein Shabeeb
Assistant: Moayed Joda
Light: Thomas Glorieux
Production: Moussem in cooperation with WCC Zuiderpershuis
With the support of the European Union