The British Council in Cyprus will celebrate International Women’s Day tomorrow with a screening of the award-winning documentary Queens of Syria at the Rialto Theatre in Limassol.
Queens of Syria, by film-maker Yasmin Fedda, tells the story of 50 women from Syria who were all forced into exile in Jordan. In 2013, all these women (who had no acting experience) came together to create and perform their own version of The Trojan Women – the timeless Ancient Greek tragedy all about the plight of women in war.
The result was a cross-cultural experience of women from one era with women of another. Women born in 20th century Syria found their experiences mirrored in the stories of a queen, princesses and ordinary women like them, who had been uprooted, enslaved and bereaved by the Trojan War.
On stage the women explore parallels between the ancient Greek tragedy and the catastrophe of today’s civil war. Their first-hand experience of a country in turmoil mirrors the Trojan women they portray. This production premiered at the Young Vic Theatre in July 2016, following a four-week workshop process in Jordan, before heading off on a UK tour. It was a process charged with emotion and fraught with challenges, as long buried issues came to the surface, and at times the project itself seemed to have no end.
For these 50 women who had no connection with acting or the theatre before, the ancient text offers opportunities to express feelings of loss in the form of group therapy, adding an additional layer of poignancy to an already deeply charged play.
The 70-minute, low-budget documentary, which stems from the touring Syria Trojan Women Project, won Abu Dhabi’s prize for best director from the Arab world.
Queens of Syria
Screening of the documentary. March 8. Rialto Theatre, Limassol. 8.30pm. Free. In Arabic with Greek and English subtitles. Tel: 77-777745