Omar Abusaada

While I was waiting / FOCUS: SYRIA

26-27 OCT 2016
Main Stage
1 hour & 40 minutes (no intermission)
With Greek and English surtitles
A heartbreaking political allegory from the ruins of Damascus.
Full price: 7 - 10 - 15 - 18 €
Reduced, Friend & Small groups (5-9 people): 8 - 12 - 14 €
Large groups (10+ people): 7 - 11 - 13 €
People with disabilities & Unemployed: 5 €
Companions: 10 €
Combo 1+1 (reduced prices): 1 ticket to "While I was Waiting" & 1 ticket to "Displacement"
Combo 2x1 (reduced prices): 2 tickets on the same day
Location: Damascus, Syria, on the brink of collapse. Time: 2015, the fifth year of the bloody civil war. Young Thaim is mercilessly beaten at one of the dozens of military checkpoints in the city and taken to hospital in a coma. It is the second tragedy to befall his family--the first was his father’s death--, and it brings his loved ones face to face with agonizing questions and painful revelations.

Deep in coma, on the cusp between consciousness and unconsciousness, Thaim imagines himself a mute observer of both his family crisis and the sweeping changes that are so rapidly transforming his country into a no man's land. Nothing will ever be the same again.

Five years on from their participation in Meeting Points 6, the contemporary art festival dedicated to the Arab Spring, the Syrian director Omar Abusaada and his long-time collaborator, the author Mohammad Al Atar, return to the OCC to explore anew an existential struggle that is creating traumatic conditions such as absence, waiting and the need to belong. Situated in the grey zone between documentary and devised theatre and making use of audio-visual media and archive material, Abusaada acknowledges a country’s contemporary history in a work of fiction. Neither alive nor touched by death, Thaim is an intermediate grey zone personified as he teeters painfully between hope and desperation.

Born in Damascus, Omar Abusaada sees political theatre as an act of resistance, even though, as he says, “its values failed to be implemented when that was still possible”. His theatre also operates as a potential for recording History as it poses the question once again: how can fiction impact on a war-torn reality? For the dramatic needs of While I was waiting, the director spoke both to doctors and to families with loved ones in a coma in order to more fully understand the workings of a human body that has shut itself down. His production is just as much an intervention as a rescue mission in a war zone.


Directed by: Omar Abusaada
Text: Mohammad Al Attar
With: Amal Omran, Mohammad Alarashi, Nanda Mohammad, Reham Kassar, Mouiad Roumieh, Mohamad Al Refai
Scenography: Bissane Al Charif
Lightening: Hasan Albalkhi, Abdulhamid Khalifeh
Video: Reem Al Ghazzi
Music: Samer Saem Eldahr (Hello Psychaleppo)
Technical Direction: Souher Hamzaoui
Set Construction: Sylvain Georget & Patrick Vindimian
Production Manager: Henri Jules Julien
Production: Festival d’Avignon, Napoli Teatro Festival, AFAC (Arab Fund for Art and Culture), Pôle Arts de la scène - Friche La Belle de Mai Marseille, Theater Spektakel Zürich, Onassis Cultural Centre Athens, Vooruit Gent, La Batie Festival de Genève, Les Bancs publics / Les Rencontres à l’échelle Marseille, Festival d'Automne à Paris

With the help of La Criée Marseille, Le Tarmac Paris

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Wednesday 26 October
After-performance talk with the participants
Chaired by Lina Sinjab, Beirut Correspondent for BBC News

Thursday 27 October
Workshop with Omar Abusaada

27 Oct 2016

Cost: 12 €


Theatre workshop by Omar Abusaada Antigone of Syria

sponsoring / partnerships

Supported by

Hospitality sponsor

Medical cover


26 - 27 Oct 2016

19:00 Upper Stage
Full price: 7 - 18 €
Reduced, Friend & Small groups (5-9 people): 14 €
Large groups (10+ people): 13 €
People with disabilities & Unemployed: 5 €
Companions: 10 €
Combo 1+1 (reduced prices): 1 ticket to "While I was Waiting" & 1 ticket to "Displacement"


Mithkal Alzghair Displacement / FOCUS: SYRIA