While I was waiting

by Mohammad Al Attar

  • Theatre
  • Show
The 2016 archive

Omar Abusaada

Damascus / Created in 2016

While I was waiting © Christophe Raynaud de Lage


Having disappeared and been severely beaten after trying to go through one of the many checkpoints that dot Damascus, Taim reappears at the hospital, unconscious. Doctors call his family, and the accident forces them to confront painful realities and buried revelations. After surviving the tragic death of the father and the scandal it unveiled, Taim's family seems incapable of facing his coma without going through profound mutations. From his deep slumber, the young man watches as the various members of his family visit him and, joining his voice to theirs, tells us about the upheaval in their everyday lives, and about the changes that have struck the Syrian capital, now become strange and cruel. To research this play about the omnipresence of absence, Omar Abusaada met families facing the tragedy of a loved one's coma as well as doctors, in order to understand the mechanisms and uncover the mysteries of this strangest of states. With writer Mohammad Al Attar, the director imagined this fable that weaves together different levels of consciousness, a thinly-veiled metaphor for the state of his country, “neither alive nor dead, this grey zone somewhere between hope and despair,” but also for his dreams of a political theatre “whose values failed to become real when it was still possible.” Theatre as an act of resistance, to question again what fiction can do, without ever giving up on chronicling History.

A writer and playwright born in Damascus in 1980, Mohammad Al Attar has written for many magazines and newspapers, focusing recently on the Syrian uprising. He met Omar Abusaada in 2007, which led to their first experience with a form of documentary theatre. Alongside his activity as a playwright, he uses theatre to lead projects with minority groups throughout the Arab world. His plays have been performed in Damascus, London, New York, Seoul, Berlin, Brussels, Edinburgh, Tunis, Athens, and Beirut. Several of them have been translated into English.


Direction Omar Abusaada
Text and dramaturgy Mohammad Al Attar
Stage design Bissane Al Charif
Lights Hasan Albalkhi
Video Reem Al Ghazzi
Music Samer Saem Eldahr (Hello Psychaleppo)

With Mohamad Al Refai, Mohammad Alarashi, Fatina Laila, Nanda Mohammad, Amal Omran, Mouiad Roumieh


Co-production Festival d'Avignon, Napoli Teatro Festival, AFAC Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, Pôle Arts de la scène - Friche La Belle de Mai (Marseille), Theater Spektakel (Zürich), Onassis Cultural Centre (Athènes), Vooruit (Gent), La Bâtie Festival de Genève, Les Bancs publics - Festival Les Rencontres à l'échelle (Marseille), Festival d'Automne at Paris
With the help of La Criée Théâtre national de Marseille, Le Tarmac (Paris), Montévidéo Marseille
In partnership with RFI, France 24 and Monte Carlo Doualiya 

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