Wael Shawky

The song of Roland

28-30 DEC 2017
Main Stage
Colours, music, and song: a big, political fairy tale of the East and the West through the eyes of one of the most important visual artists of Egypt.
Early bird from 31 OCT 2017 until 27 NOV 2017: 14, 18 €

Full price: 7, 8, 12, 20, 25 €
Reduced, Friend & Groups 5-9 people: 7, 10, 16, 20 €
Groups 10+ people: 6, 9, 14, 18 €
Νeighborhood residents: 7 €
People with disabilities & Unemployed: 5 € | Companions: 10 €

Group ticket reservations at groupsales@sgt.gr
Arab musicians and singers narrate in their own language The Song of Roland (La Chanson de Roland) – a French, medieval epic poem of the eleventh century – with a wonderful set as a background. Consisting of hundreds of small pieces, the set looks like an enlarged miniature of the maps of Aleppo, Baghdad, and Istanbul. Drawing on the poem’s topic (that is, the battle between Christians and Saracens), which he recomposes, Wael Shawky comments on and subverts the stereotypical gaze of the West on the East. A large group of traditional musicians from Arab countries, along with four exceptional singers, sing this epic tale in the style of fidjeri, the music of the pearl fishers who are slowly disappearing. Costumes, instruments, and the musical language of the production transport us to the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf long before the discovery of oil, where people once lived on the commerce of pearls and sang in this way.
The attempt to rephrase the narrative of the West for the Arab world is at the crux of the work by this very accomplished, active, and internationally acclaimed Alexandrian artist. Through Shawky’s subversive and politically unorthodox position, the production attains historical depth with regard to Islamophobia and the extremism of both sides. Thus, he manages to create a deeply political work in the form of an attractive fairy tale. By fusing myth, history, and literature, borrowing from different cultures and techniques, and by leading our gaze and ears back in time, Wael Shawky composes an epic production about the many faces of truth that are barely visible, hidden behind the narratives of both West and East.


Concept, Direction, Design: Wael Shawky
Artistic Assistance: Giorgio Benotto
Assistant Director: Hashem Alalawi
Sound, Video: Kay Engert

With: Juma Yousif Jumaja Almukaini Aljneibi, Abdulla Lashkarieid Mohammad, Fahed Omar Abdulla Heba Marzouq, Aman Khamis Juma Aashir Almarashda, Matar Jasim Malalla Binnabhan AlMarzooqi, Mohamed Ali Khamis Alashar Almarshada, Anwar Ali Jasim Ahmed, Khaled Ali Mohamed Aljaffal, Yusuf Khamis Sbait Mubarak Alfarsi, Ali Husain Ahmed Husain Altamimi, Shawqi Abdulla Sabt Saud, Saad Ahmed Mohamed Aljaffal, Khaled Saad Salem Rashed, Ahmed Saleh Mohamed Alshabaan, Ahmed Abdulla Juma Farhan, Idrees Rabeea Idreses Bakheet, Ismaeel Mohamed Mesfer Saad, Faraj Mohamed Mesfer Saad, Yaqoob Ali Mohamed Bujaffal, Isa Ali Mohamed Aljaffal, Mohamed Anwar Ali Jasim Ahmed
Translation into Greek: Vassilis Douvitsas
Technical Management & Lighting: Sergio Pessanha
Artistic Production Management: Stefan Scheuermann, Henning Mues
Technical Production Management: Kampnagel Hamburg
A production of Kampnagel (Hamburg)
A co-production with Theater der Welt 2017 (Germany), Holland Festival (Amsterdam), Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens (Greece), Sharjah Art Foundation (United Arab Emirates), Theaterspektakel (Zurich)

Funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education, with the support of Bahrain Authority for Culture & Antiquities for rehearsals in Bahrain.

Kindly supported by Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (Bahrain), Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Germany)

sponsoring / partnerships

Official air carrier sponsor

Hospitality sponsor

Medical cover

Supported by