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Hadda. Photo Credit: Khalili Abdelaziz.
Volume 10

Contentious Dramaturgies in the countries of the Arab Spring (The Case of Morocco)

Introduction

‘Alternative Dramaturgies’ in contemporary Moroccan theatres have become highly visible, re-framing our preconceived questions related to both classical and modern dramaturgies. In the present undertaking three case studies will be explored along with their public responses and their potential for dramaturgical intervention and devising processes. Dmoue Bel K’houl (Kolh Tears) was written by Issam el Youssfi, directed by Asmae El Houri, and presented by Anfass Theater Group (winner of the best performance in the national festival of 2013). Hadda, a theatre-concert of the activist company Dabateatr, was a free adaptation of Safia Azzeddine’s Confidences à Allah, written and directed by Jaouad Essounani. Schizophrenia is a recycled project that re-enacted one of the most painful testimonies of Milouda, a single mother who appeared in a previous project (Viol en Scène) by the same company. Articulated around the notion of the narrator as the main agent of the theatrical event and the use of ‘mediaturgy,’ the three performances challenged dominant dramaturgical forms and allowed new sites for spectatorship to emerge, extending the boundaries of the aesthetic realm.

The growing tendency towards the interweaving of theatre cultures since the dawn of the twentieth century, according to Erika Fischer-Lichte, has led “neither to the ‘westernisation’ nor the homogenization of non-western theatre cultures. Instead it created new standards of diversity.”[i] The new dramaturgies of Morocco, and by extension other countries participating in the “Arab Spring,” are offshoots of such creative tension rather than imitative westernized projects… They have developed at the intersections between European modernism and postmodernism and postcolonial resistance to these. The political in these exemplary alternative dramaturgies from Morocco lies not only in the projects’ hot issues pertaining to the Spring of Democracy but also and most importantly in disputing conventional theatrical forms, re-thematizing the dramaturgical operation modes and changing the relation to the audience…Their recourse to personal stories within the context of the revolutionary spring is also political: the personal is political.

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