“May He Rise and Smell the Fragrance” (Ishtar's Descent into the Underworld)
From a stage bathed in the darkness of dusk rises a woman's voice, singing a deep song. Drawn to that prayer, a dancer and two musicians enter. Thus opens the last part of a trilogy (Fatmeh, Leila's Death) exploring mourning rituals in the Shiite tradition, which Ali Chahrour invites us to experience as one would a funeral ceremony emerging from the black lands of Mesopotamia. A journey into the origins of Arab myths, led by a priestess—responsible for the crossing of dead souls into the next world—urging men to feel the grief of loss. Putting masculinity and its insistence on strength and heroism to the test, it reveals the weaknesses and helplessness of those men for whom crying is forbidden. One must sing, scream, chant, dance, and through the intensity of those deep and poetic lamentations, pull the pain out of one's body, exorcise violence, and set free a powerful force of life. With May He Rise and Smell the Fragrance, the Lebanese choreographer questions the taboos and suffering of a country torn apart by wars, towards a possible rebirth.
Born in Beirut in 1989, dancer and choreographer Ali Chahrour is a graduate of the Lebanese University, with a degree in drama and dramatic dance. Far from western standards, he has built a modern gestural identity inspired by Arab myths and by the political, social, and religious context of his own life. His work explores the relationship between the body and movement, between religion and the sacred. May He Rise is the last part of a trilogy that began with Fatmeh and Leila's Death, both performed at the Festival d'Avignon in 2016.
With Ali Chahrour, Ali Hout, Abed Kobeissy, Hala Omran
Choregraphy Ali Chahrour
Dramaturgy Junaid Sarieddeen
Music Two or The Dragon
(Ali Hout, Abed Kobeissy)
Lights Guillaume Tesson
Sound Khyam Allami and Mathilde Dhaussy
Production Ali Chahrour en collaboration avec Zoukak theatre company
Coproduction Fabrik Potsdam
With the support of Goethe Institute, Arab fund for arts and culture ”Afac” de Houna Center, Zoukak theatre company, Institut français de Beyrouth
In partnership with France Médias Monde