Hanane Hajj Ali JOGGING - Theatre in progress - Sveriges Radio

 
JOGGING
Theatre in progress

Hanane Hajj Ali
Credits / Crédits:
Concept, text and performance / Concept, texte et performance: Hanane Hajj Ali
Art direction and scenography / Direction artistique et scénographie: Eric Deniaud
Dramaturgy / Dramaturgie: Abdullah al Kafri
Light designer / Lumières: Rayyan Nihawi
Coordination / Coordination: Marielise Aad
Book design / Graphisme et mise en page: Danielle Kattar
English translation/ Traduction anglaise: Hassan Abdulrazzak
French translation / Traduction française: Praline Gay Para
Subtitles / Sous-titrage: Ghina Hachicho
Photographer / Photographe: Marwan Tahtah

Collaboration to work in progress JOGGING Lab / Collaborations:
Sound / Son: Wael Kodeih
Video / Vidéo: Yacine Sebti
Graphics & animation / Visuels et animation: David Habchi

Co-production:
Supported by: AFAC (Arab Fund for Arts and Culture)
Produced in cooperation with: Heinrich Böll Stiftung - MENA Office (Beirut)

Support: SHAMS Association, Collectif Kahraba, Al Mawred Al Thaqafy (Culture
Resource), Moussem (BE), Zoukak / Focus Liban 2016, Artas Foundation,
l’Institut Français au Liban, The British Council, Vatech, Khalil Wardé SAL.

When the idea of JOGGING came to life back in 2012, Hanane Hajj Ali invited
artists and practitioners of different nationalities and disciplines to take part in
her artistic lab, some of them during a specific phase of the research process, and
others joined in the production stages. Throughout the different phases, Hanane
stimulated a collaborative work inspired by Masrah Al Hakawaty, a contemporary
storytelling theatre that she had co-founded. This theatrical laboratory created
an open platform for reflection, debate, and interaction that we hope to expand
and deepen when meeting with the public.
JOGGING                    Theatre in progress
A performance by Hanane Hajj Ali

Hanane, a fifty-something year old Lebanese actress and citizen,
exercises daily to avoid osteoporosis, obesity and depression.
She takes walks in her secluded, personal space, and in the
open space of Beirut. Along the way she revisits dreams,
desires, hopes, disillusions, characters, and roles – mostly
several Medeas with whom she shares some commonalities.
The effects of this daily routine are contradictory. As a matter of
fact, two hormones are stimulated in her body, dopamine and
adrenaline that are alternatively destructive and constructive,
amidst a city that destroys to build and builds to destroy.

Alone on a bare stage, Hanane – woman, wife and mother – lifts
the veil on her identity, becoming an «unveiled» performer on
stage, where personas progressively parade to fit together like
Russian dolls.
Characters
(All characters are performed by Citizen Hanane/Mother/Actress)

Hanane: Actress
Yvonne: A married woman from Mount Lebanon, 42 years old
Zahra: A married woman from the south, 50 years old

Members of the audience: To introduce the play, introduce Yvonne
and Zahra, perform the role of Zahra’s husband

The underlined text represents either direct excerpts or
adaptations from various sources: Euripides, Pasolini,
Heiner Müller, Virginia Woolf, Reyhaneh Jabbari, Guy Béart,
Shakespeare.

                                                              -5-
Hanane is alone on the stage, interacting with some objects. There is
a screen showing the translation of the text.

    Enter the audience to the sound of Hanane gurgling and repeating
the letter ‘Kh’ in Arabic. Sometimes she combines the letters ‘Kh’ and
“R” to create the word ‘Khara’ meaning shit. These are exercises to
strengthen the uvula. These exercises help to protect the vocal cords
by day and prevent snoring by night. Hanane gurgles some water and
she begins her vocal exercises whilst at the same time performing some
warm up physical exercises.

    Kh a b (disappointed) - Kh a r (babbled) - Kh a t (mix) - Kh a f
(frightened) - Kh a n (betrayed)

    Kh b r (told) - Kh b z (baked) - Kh b es (made chaos) - Kh b t
(hit) - Kh b l (made crazy)

   Kh t l (hid) - Kh t n (circumcised) - Kh t l (hid) - Kh t m
(completed)

    Kh g l (felt shy)

     Kh d g (scratched) - Kh d r ( numbed) - Kh d a (tricked) - Kh
th l (let down).

     After the people sit down, Hanane invites a member of the audience
to stand beside her and introduce the play: Hello and welcome. Our
meeting will begin or rather it has begun already so please switch
off your phones… we would like to inform you that this play is an
illegitimate bastard born of sin, where the thoughts of the actress

                                                                      -7-
have become like daughters who get pregnant out of wedlock
without a care in the world, without having to have witnesses or
sign a marriage certificate or obtain an official permit from state
security! Whoever feels awkward or shy can leave now and return
his or her ticket which is free anyway. And of course photography
is not allowed as we would like to avoid a scandal!

    Hanane continues her exercises: Kh r b (ruined) - Kh r g (gone) -
Kh r s (mute) - Kh r t (etch) - Kh r ‘a (frightened) - Kh r f (senility)
- Kh r k (violated) - Kh r m (penetrated) - Kh r a (shit).

    Hanane (to the audience): What a happy evening! The best way
to do these vocal exercises is to gather the letters Kh, R and the
last letter of the Arabic alphabet to create Khara (shit)! Don’t
mind me saying this whilst looking at all of you. You have faces
that smell of musk. And as you are looking at me, someone who is
neither shit or musk but both at the same time, I’ll let you know
all about me. Those of you who know me will realise you don’t
know me and those who don’t know me will curse the hour they
met me! According to official documents I am Hanane Hajj Ali
daughter of Ali Amin Darwish, a Lebanese true citizen for over
ten years, a French citizen for over ten years, I’m married to a
true Christian Maronite for over ten years. That Maronite has
been a Sunni Muslim for over ten years. I belong to the Shia sect of
Islam since birth. The address on my family registry was Maidan
district, number 17 in Nabatiya and then it was changed to Al-
Rmayl district, number 914 in Beirut. From Nabatiya to the center
of Achrafiya in Beirut. I was constrained after this move because
for the first and last time I decided to participate in the elections.
Not the Parliamentary elections but the local elections. So I went
to the election centre that I was assigned in the secondary school
in Al-Rmayl. They looked me up and down and down to up, they
examined their files from left to right and right to left, they gave
me such a headache. They kept telling me off because they found
no record for me. I was like salt that had dissolved in water.
Men are known for lying. But luckily you are before a woman.

    This woman is a mother with four children, none of them live
in Lebanon, just like all their friends.

    This woman is a citizen aged… in her early 50s. She does jogging
every day in Beirut to avoid stress and prevent osteoporosis. This
exercise is supposed to keep her calm and help her to balance her
soul and body because it encourages the production of adrenalin
and dopamine. One makes you calm and the other makes you
alert. During this run she dreams about her longings, about the
great acting roles, her hopes and failures and she runs the same
route in Beirut, a city that demolishes to build and builds only to
be destroyed.

   OK let’s go… let’s do a little prayer and warm up like every day.

   Hanane gets up and begins the daily walk. During the monologue,
Hanane varies her walk and run.

    Hanane: This is how I start my day… I wake up, I get out
from under the duvet. I sit at the edge of the bed. I put on my
compression stockings and swallow the pill for my Thyroid gland.
I say the shahada prayer and reach for the water bottle next to
me and drink as much as I can… I walk on tip toe… I go and do
my ablutions then I pray… I take the sports bottom and my scarf.
I wear them. I forget the pin for the scarf so I do a half turn. Then
I remember the banana and the I-pod. What’s missing to be cool,
man? The sweater! I put on the sweater around my waist. I get to
the door. I stop… I must have forgotten something.

    God where are the keys? I don’t want to have to break down
the door and wake up the whole building… I go back to the
bedroom and examine the bed, the table next to the bed, the
picture shelf above the bed. I go through the four or five wallets
on the floor next to the bed, through the plastic bags containing
papers and notebooks which are on the chair opposite the bed. I

                                                                  -9-
look under the bed, I turn over the mattress, the pillow, the duvet,
the bed cover. I search the gap between my bed and my husband’s
bed. God bless the idea of a single united Arab bed. God forgive
you Gamal Abdel Nasser* and Abdel Halim Hafez** for the ideas
you put in our heads about Arab unity. I search my pocket, the
telephone table, the sofas, between the cushions, the desk, next
to the medicine, between the remote controls. Three things I can
never find: glasses, umbrella and keys. Maybe this is hereditary!
Of course I didn’t search the fridge, the oven or in the Persil box
because I am not the heroine of Dario Fo’s A Woman Alone. That
woman who was so out of her mind, she hid her baby diapers in
the tomato box!

     I am the cool hijab woman married to the genius director who
is the source of my headache and love! I thought about searching
the underwear drawer but stopped myself. Why? Because of what
happened last Friday… I came back home late and my husband
was reclining on the bed. I rattled the keys. He opened his eyes. I
was searching for something in the drawer when I felt him. The
keys dropped in the drawer as he took me. I was like the bee
fluttering her wings and he was like the drone riding the bee!
He took her so suddenly she felt nothing except bitterness and
adrenalin. She didn’t know how to enjoy it or to relax or to feel
happy. He went back to sleep and she stayed awake until the cock
crowed. And after that Scheherazade awake to do jogging but
couldn’t find her keys!!!

    I shut the door and go… And so starts my special relationship
with nature in Beirut… It’s enough that I hear the cooing of doves
that gather on the orphan big tree behind Zico House which

*         Gamal Abdel Nasser, a prominent Arab leader, president of Egypt from
1956 until his death in 1970. Nasser has been described as the first leader of an Arab
nation who challenged what was perceived as the western dominance of the Middle
East. Nasser remains a highly revered figure in both Egypt and the Arab world.
**         Abdel Halim Hafez who died in 1977 is among the most popular Egyptian
and Arabic singers. He has been in close relation with the Nasser regime. He sang
directly to president Gamal Abdel Nasser in several occasions.
instead of being green, is jet black from the pollution. Her leaves
ooze with dirty oil, like the oil priests use in service, like our great
priest, former president Al-Hariri* and his Future channel which
omits programs and carbon dioxide 24/7. I begin to travel the
universe and flutter into another world.

    I feel ecstatic to hear sound of doves and the few birds on the
tree. I try to comprehend the alphabet of clarity that come from
the sounds they make. I imagine I am one of them, one of their
chorus. And I flutter far away to places not of this world and I
remember the quranic verses: “the birds with wings spread Each
of them has known his means of prayer and exalting Him… but
you do not understand their way of exalting. Indeed, He is ever
Forbearing and Forgiving”.

    As I was lost in spirituality, submerged in metaphysics and
contemplating the universe, a piece of pigeon shit fell into my
eye! Then a good question came to me: Is it right for pigeon to
be exulting God whilst doing its business? A question that on the
surface seems stupid but is actually profound once you look at it
deeply. It’s a question that I couldn’t answer in Arabic.

    So I asked myself in other languages:

    Could a creature praise God while shitting?

    Est-ce qu’on peut prier en déféquant (c-à-d en faisant caca)?

    But we ca not say ‘caca’ because philosophically it won’t do.
The thing is, I pondered this question for a good while. Then I had
the answer. I remembered my grandmother’s saying: everything
that comes from the sky is good even if it is birds’ shit.

    To the sound of the bubbles of certainty and the beats of

*         Rafic Hariri, born 1 November 1944 in Saida and murdered 14 February
2005 in Beirut, is a businessman and Lebanese politician. He made his fortune in
Saudi Arabia before heading five governments in Lebanon between 1992 and 2004,
particularly from 1992 to 1998 and from 2000 to 2004.

                                                                           -11-
faith, I feel a pleasurable anaesthesia that begins from my toes
and goes up all the way to my eyelashes which begin to feel like
pins and needles and freeze my gaze between them so that I am
looking between heaven and earth. I’m puzzled and astonished
by this moment where the night hums and the morning breathes,
the moment when darkness retreats by light and across the face
of darkness, spots of light emerge that become bigger until they
cover everything.

    Once I decided to extend this moment as far as it goes,
the moment between the disappearance of darkness and the
beginning of light so I took with me two thread reels, white and
black and I spread the threads before me as I walked so that I can
feel the miracle of the one thousand of a second that distinguishes
the black thread from the white… It’s a scandal!!!

     Scandal, I swear to God, definitely a scandal. From the bottom
of the light, a gurgling and shit and talking to myself and running
and pigeons and shit and dreams! Scandal, definitely a scandal!
It’s unbelievable how many tense dreams I have whilst walking
that I don’t even have whilst I’m asleep!! These dreams come to
me whilst I run like a scene from a movie.

    God when I remember what I dream about I die of shame!
Sometimes I stand in the middle of the road and ask myself:
could it be right? How could such dreams enter the head of an
upstanding lady like yourself, who is faithful and virtuous, a lady
that loves her husband so dearly. Then I curse myself.

    I spent the whole night dreaming of a man who can’t be seen
or mentioned. We tried different positions, on my stomach, my
back, my shoulder, my ass, backward, forward. Six hours with no
food or drink. Many times I tried to analyse myself to understand
what’s going on. Maybe this has something to do with hereditary.
OK if we accepted the idea of an inner mind, and a greedy spirit
for mankind that leads to such erotic dreams, and as long as God
punishes these deeds, then at least let God make me dream of a
man worth going to hell for. What a wasted dream… !! And with
whom, with Fouad Al-Seniora*? Can it be? What a let down.

    I swear my life is spent between mania and depression, fire
and ash, adrenalin and dopamine. The one gets me up, the other
down. It’s too much! Never mind. God curses only to redeem.
Being an actress, I can transcend my frustration through other
dreams, dreams of the great acting roles, the Greek roles. Phaedra,
Andromeda, Cassandra, Antigone… Hercules, Odepus, Maciste...
Medea… Yes Medea, this is a great character! I’ve been obsessed
for a long time with Medea… Medea the mythical heroine, you
know her:

    Hanane tells the story of Medea as a parody.

     She was a barbarian, the granddaughter of the sun God Helios,
daughter of Aeëtes, she had magical powers… she was the ultimate
woman!! She had big cow eyes like those of the Indian actress
Aishwarya Rai but black… Her lips, full of goodness. Her cheeks
were like thrones for birds to perch on. She is a great terrain, as if
carved out of Kilimanjaro and its neighbour the valley of skulls. A
woman with raging red hormones. She started jogging along the
beach with greater passion than me. She wears a purple scarf that
drags behind her some nine meters. And then she sees a beam
of light, shining out of the water. God have mercy! She saw Jason
coming up from the horizon with his seductive six pack. She sees
him at the head of the ship with his fellow Argonauts and she
adores him to death! And he has not come for nothing, he has
crossed the seven seas to get the golden fleece which guarantees
the wearer permanent power. It is guarded with a magic spell in
the palace of the king where Medea, the barbarian lives. She does
everything so that Jason could have her. She helps him defeat
the blue devils, seduce the dragon, sleep with the serpent that

*         Fouad Al-Seniora was in charge of the Ministry of Finance under Al-Hariri.
He was also prime minister after Al-Hariri’s mandate.

                                                                               -13-
protects the fleece. Finally she got the fleece and Jason. She took
hold of him and he took hold of the fleece. And with her other arm
she took her young brother and all together they headed to Argos.
Of course matters didn’t end there and the king chased after her
with his army. To distract her father she picked up a cleaver and in
the blink of an eye, she smashed it down over her brother’s head
then dismembered his body and scattered his body parts. This
forced the king to stop every now and then to collect a part of his
son’s body. First his head and the last thing his arse. She not only
escaped but had a three month honeymoon. When they reached
Argos, Jason went to his uncle, the king, who had seized power and
said (and this is according to Pasolini’s Medea): Here is the golden
fleece and as we agreed give me back my royal power. His uncle,
who was versed in the art of politics, replied: “It’s true I made that
promise. I haven’t forgotten. But you should know, kings are not
obliged to stay true to their word”. Then Jason with all his pride
replied. “Keep the golden fleece but know this, there is no glory
that lasts forever”. If Euripides was alive during Pasolini’s time,
he would have killed him for putting this impetuous reply (that’s
my theory). But Medea is listening to all this so she prepares a
poison concoction and convinces Jason’s cousins, the daughters
of the king, to give it to their father so it could not only protect
him from a stroke but also restore his youth. So the daughters
give the father the concoction and as soon as he takes a sip, he
then lets out the gasp of death. Meanwhile Medea and Jason pack
their bags and flee to Corinth. There Jason was beloved by all the
people. Him and the king Creon became so close they were like
two arse cheeks bound together in a single underpants. Then one
day Creon tells Jason, I want us to become family, I want you to
marry my daughter Créuse.

    Jason, being a vicious womaniser, liked the idea. One moonless
night, he tells Medea that he is going to marry the daughter of
the king to protect their children. Medea, fast as a fleeting glance,
without screaming or weeping or asking for divorce, she takes
her prettiest dress and immerses it in a black poison. She puts the
dress in an ebony box and before she sends it as a present to the
would be bride, she tells Jason: “I’ll turn the bride into a torch for
the wedding, I will fill up the pores of her soft skin with the gold
of Colchis and on her white skin I will write my play”. The poor
thing, as soon as she wore the dress, she was aflame. Her father
tried to save her but it was as if he poured petrol on the fire. Now
the whole palace was lit. Jason was plucking nutmeg to sweeten
his beloved’s mouth when all of a sudden he heard a mighty
scream. He looked towards the palace and saw a mountain of
flame. Immediately he understood what happened and he ran to
Medea, screaming like a slaughtered bird: Meeedeee. With utter
calmness, to crown her deeds, Medea kills her two children (this
is according to Euripides).

    She then ties bits of their corpuses in the tail of her dress,
climbs her strange chariot and heads towards the sun. She does
this without letting Jason set his eyes or senses on the bodies of
his dead children.

   Ah! Medea! A great role. There is no actress that doesn’t
dream of it.

    But Medea not only attracts me but also repels me. She can
drive you crazy. A mother could not kill her children like that no
matter what Euripides and the Gods who made him say! When
my son had cancer aged seven, I was crippled with fear. Because I
loved him so much I wished he would die so he would not suffer!
From that time, Medea invaded me and I felt like I was a piece in
the giant puzzle of her character. I searched for the other pieces
in the stories of women I knew. I started to think how we can
deal with such a myth. Who is Medea today in a torn city like
Beirut. If the age of tragedy as a type of theatre is gone, why do I
smell catastrophe every time I run on the streets of Beirut and I
remember Shakespeare’s saying:

                                                                  -15-
There is something rotten in the state of Denmark.

    Which we can translate literally to: there is something rotten
in the Lebanese heaven!

   While I was contemplating this question the first part of
Medea lands like a plate of poison.

   Hanane asks a member of the audience to introduce Yvonne.

      A member of the audience: Yvonne is a true Lebanese citizen
living in a town in Mount Lebanon. She decided on Thursday 19
November 2009 to end the lives of her three daughters. Nora who
is 13, Elisa who is 10 and Mariam who is 7. She then took her own
life.

   Yvonne who grew up in a civilised town, and had a good
education, had an ideal love relationship with her husband, Elie,
who lived in the Gulf and was responsible for thoroughbred
horses belonging to a big Sheik.

    Yvonne that night prepared a fruit salad with honey and
whipping cream doused with a significant quantity of rat poison.
She gave the salad to the girls. They fell into a deep sleep. She
made a tape for her husband. She ate from the same salad and
slept beside her daughters. The neighbours later found the four
bodies.

   The tape Yvonne recorded will in few hours disappear.

    Meanwhile Hanane puts on a raincoat and embodies a new character
to perform the next scene:

   Dearest,

   I feel certain I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through
another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I
begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what
seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible
happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I
don’t think two people could have been happier till this terrible
disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling
your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You
see I can’t even say this properly. What I want to say is I owe all the
happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with
me and incredibly good. I want to say that - everybody knows it: If
anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything
has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on
spoiling your life any longer. I don’t think two people could have
been happier than we have been.

    Hanane: the truth is: that is not the note Yvonne recorded for
her husband but the note the British writer Virginia Woolf left
for her husband before she committed suicide. She suffered from
depression after the second world war when she lost her house
in London. Because the public did not like the last two books she
had published, she got up that morning, wrote her letter quickly,
wore her long coat, filled her pockets with stones and entered the
river near her home and didn’t exit.

    What Woolf said in that letter is what many people imagined
Yvonne had said in hers. They said certainly something like that
can’t happen in our town. It must be the illness.

    Hanane grabs hold of a tin of white cream and rubs it over her face
as she performs the next scene: There is a great actress called Valérie
Dréville who played Medea in a version by Heiner Müller and she
ended up covering her face with cream and was then naked as
the day God made her from top to bottom. The cream gave me
ideas because it’s at the heart of the story (the fruit salad with
whipping cream) but playwright Abdullah told me that on stage
the cream on the face would be interpreted in a sexual manner.
Ayi. Why not? So here, now with me in front of you, submit to the
power of suggestion and let your imagination run free. I will try
to imagine what was on that tape.

                                                                   -17-
Hanane wears a wig and performs the part of Yvonne. She puts on
kuhel, and looks at the small mirror in her hand as if she was looking at
the camera.

    Hanane (performing Yvonne): How are you darling? How is the
sheik, our great provider? Let him know how much I appreciate
his generosity. Congrats on training the latest thoroughbred.
You’re a regular Alexander, I swear. You’re the only one that knew
how to break her with your charms. She joined you to the ‘house
of obedience’ as our Muslim brothers put it. What happened
between you was halal and haram (right and wrong), you broke
bread and slept with the ‘virgins’ in heaven and drank from the
rivers of alcohol promised to the Muslims. They have heaven on
earth. You’re the horse master. No horse can be broken without
you. You’re all over the Gulf. No one knows how to tame the wild
horses except you. And each horse you break is worth its weight
in gold. And we are drowning in gold. We are proud of you!

    Silence.

    Yvonne: “I’m proud of you” that’s what you told me on the
phone yesterday… You were surprised how I talked to you without
admonishment or anger or tears as I usually do… I prayed to God
to give you peace of mind… get you away from me and make you
happy… you will be proud of us… certainly… Its enough for you to
put this tape in, click the button, to see us with your own eyes, and
to see your image reflected in our eyes.

    The day of judgment is here, Jason.

    And Medea will take back what she lent you.

    I left behind me a so called country.

    And I’ll leave behind us a so called exile.

    And so that exile would not become a country,
I’ll cut what joins us to her with these two hands.

    While singing، Yvonne takes out a piece of paper and cuts out the
shape of the three girls.

   Yvonne: Ma petite est comme l’eau, elle est comme l’eau vive

   Elle court comme un ruisseau, que les enfants poursuivent

   Courez, courez, vite si vous le pouvez

   Jamais, jamais, vous ne la rattraperez

   [My little girl is like water

   She’s like the running water

   She runs like a stream

   That children follow

   Run, run,

   Quick as you can

   Never, never

   You’ll never catch up to her]

    Yvonne: I wrote for you the play of a lifetime. I directed it and
acted in it along with your daughters. I got them to eat and drink
in your honour. They live and die by my honour. A unique play
that doesn’t begin or end. The actors can never discard the role.
They stay in character forever. And you were inside the picture
and outside it. You were our star and our audience. I gift you the
last of my words, kisses and greetings before I join them and we
will sit together and watch you from heaven. We will watch you
perform the role of Jason, the shocked father. I know just how
much you will embrace that role and how it will suit you... That’s
why I congratulate you with all my heart and say bravo.

                                                                 -19-
She blows a kiss towards the camera, then takes a lighter to burn the
piece of paper.

    Hanane takes off the wig.

     Hanane: Why did Yvonne do this? What makes a woman that
has all the means of happiness end everything in a second, a
woman who pretends she is happy but everything around her is
driving her to madness and to drowning in the sea of murder? We
have a lot of curiosity to know the details of the tape she made.
This tape that was given to the court as evidence of what Yvonne
had done, disappeared in record time and no one could examine
it, well not in a legal way at any rate! This tape that you could say
was buried along with her, we know a little of its content which
was leaked after the bodies were found. Yvonne says: “I’m gone
and I have taken my daughters with me so they wouldn’t suffer
the torment that I endured and so I can be certain they would be
safe”

    Can you imagine how I felt when I read that sentence! Not
only was this the same sentence I said when my son was enduring
his cancer pain, but because there is something so strong in what
she said and did that makes you think everything that was said
about Yvonne was superficial. It makes us think: If Yvonne merely
wanted us to know that it was she who killed her daughters and
no one else and that she committed suicide afterwards then she
could have left a small piece of paper if she had the strength to
hold a pen that is. Instead, without any one from her family or
her husband’s family or her neighbours knowing, she planned
her crime with utter coolness, preparing the ingredients of the
fruit salad that killed her children: apples, cherries, mango,
pineapple… and not forgetting the lychee which is hard to find.
The whip cream wasn’t from a can. No! This was fresh cream
mixed with icing sugar. She had a cake prepared which she put
on dantele-like paper because that’s nicer and better. And she
prepared the camera and the tape and didn’t forget to charge the
camera battery. She picked the right angle. She got her girls new
pyjamas, pink and sky blue. One had a bear print, another had
a ladybird print and another had the smurfs. She herself looked
great… she filmed her daughters before they died and then after
and she spoke to camera for the duration of the tape. It’s as if
Yvonne wanted to bear witness to something and then the tape
disappeared. It’s as if she wanted to “reveal something hidden”
that no one other than her knew. She wanted perhaps to “expose”
something whose details no one knew beside her. Something she
couldn’t change during her life… There are things that happen in
this country, dangerous things, that are talked about briefly then
they disappear as if they never happened. Small and big matters,
in relation to money, honour, the honour of the government, the
sect, the family, and politics, theft, corruption… a thousand and
one reasons. Really dangerous subjects (Refaat Suleiman*, the
child who before she died was drugged every day and raped by
the resident priest of the school or her father, no one knows for
sure! Rana Klaylat, and the scandal of the Mediterranean bank..).
Cases that are fixed then erased and we in the end become false
witnesses. We are made - or rather we agree to be made - to face
reality. i.e. fait accompli. In the end we say “it’s our fate to live in this
country, whatever we do nothing will change”. We are still living
in the age of myths and fatalism. There are plenty of catastrophes
that we are living through. Based on all that is happening we can
paraphrase Shakespeare and his Danish prince:

     There is something tragic in the state of Denmark.

   To translate that to our situation: There is something tragic in
our indignant republic!

    Hanane takes out a transparent red cloth which is few meters long
from the bag she has with her. She puts the cloth around her head and

*          Refaat Suleiman, an employee of the Ministry of Finance, accused in 1996
of rigging a large amount of fiscal stamps. He was killed by those involved in the case
and his body was put in a barrel of acid.

                                                                                  -21-
hands so that she can perform a scene from Médée Matériau.

    Hanane (in the role of Medea):

    You evil, painful, fornicator, traitor, fate… the big monster
marching towards me, lick me, smell me, gather me, devour me,
I’m all yours.

    I’m yours tonight, I’m your wife, adversary, concubine, I’m
your wrong, your right… all the pours of my body will open to you.
A holy carpet that you spread beneath you like a whore. Take me,
pierce me, needle me, grab me, gather me, break me.

    Blow… burn… shackle… breach… squirt… I will dissolve, pickle,
ferment. I will be tormented to give birth as necessary… For you I
spent that night. Finally I will be myself, finally I will be Medea,
finally I will live.

     Hanane (switching to the role of Zahra, looking up): God, I’m tired
of living… I don’t mean to complain but I want someone to feel pity
and compassion towards me… help me God… I have not reached
you easily… I’m not complaining, I just want you to pity me.

    Hanane (Looking at the audience): Don’t think it strange. Yes
Zahra has an open direct line with Him. God is kind and he
tolerates her. Another being would have blasphemed by now!!!

    Zahra: Thirty years of my life were spent in wars… a long
path planted with disappointment: I was born the year of the
earthquake… I grew up quickly. I started menstruating in 1967
when the West bank was occupied. I was 11 years old. A bomb fell
beside me and I had my period. They married me off after Nasser
died in 1970. They took me like a pile of old clothes and deposited
me with a strange man without a wedding or anything. I stayed
for four months in the house like a widow because we were
mourning the dearly departed leader… I remember the birthdays
of my children because they are all tied to wars. Only the last
son I had was born on a sunny, quiet day. A clear day suited for
shelling according to our Russian brothers! When Nasser died
many people committed suicide by jumping onto Pigeon’s Rock
in Beirut, mainly men. The women caught up after the death of
Halim Hafiz. Women would jump out of their windows and land on
the bastard rock directly! At that time I couldn’t even bear to look
at a photo of Che Guevara because of my overflowing feelings…
my revolutionary feelings! I would cry when I heard the Beatles.
Even now when I hear ‘imagine’ my whole body would shake…
of course I’d hear it by accident… the words of Mao Zedong were
like gospel and Lenin was almost a prophet, forgive me God!

   My life and the life of the youth were sacrificed by our leaders
and each leader proved to be shitier than the one before.

     Zahra (Looks up): I beg your forgiveness, God! It’s been a long
time since I swore! A dirty word to describe the dirt! Otherwise
why did you invent dirty words? It’s been a long time since I
wore a bikini or tasted alcohol (though I still get drunk on the
smell of aniseed because I love it so much). From the days of the
Automatic and Horse Show cafes (frequented by the youth and
intellectuals) until now… not even a drop. I would stop being
observant every now and then. Sometimes I pray, sometimes I
don’t. But I swear ever since the Iranian revolution was victorious
I started walking the straight path! We started to gather on the
Rawda cafe overlooking the beach to reassess everything… after
all this loss, we have no one but you… ever since then I started
reading the Quran with a great deal of contemplation… I spent my
time reading and smoking i.e. only touching what was allowed…
There was one who had the magic of Guevara and made us forget
coffee and cigarettes when we saw him or heard him and that was
Sayed Moussa el Sadr*. God bring him back from exile and show
us your mercy, God.

*         Moussa el Sadr was an Iranian-Lebanese thinker and Shia religious leader
from a long line of distinguished clerics tracing their ancestry back to Jabal Amel. He
disappeared in Libya on 31 August 1978.

                                                                                  -23-
Hanane : That wasn’t Hanane that you heard… it’s not the story
of Hanane… it’s the story of Zahra.

    Hanane goes to a member of the audience and asks him to introduce
the story of Zahra.

   A member of the audience:

   Zahra, you’re 15 years old

   They married you off as usual

   You had children as usual

   You served your husband’s family as usual.

   But what was unusual is that you refused the usual.

    You refused common notions of halal and haram. You went to
the fountain head and drank from it.

   Hanane performs the role of Zahra but she inhabits her gradually.

   Zahra, you got divorced, you faced everyone, the family and
your blood. You loved the cause, you loved freedom, you loved
Muhammad, the prophet and your lover who is named after the
prophet. I swear on the prophet and who made the prophet a
prophet that love makes a woman sparkle.

    Who would have thought this fragile girl would grow into
a formidable woman. Her windows open to the world, her soul
flying high… your burning sun sheltering in his shadow… your love
and your mirror: a mirror inside a mirror inside a mirror. Love,
struggle, art and The Left, a prestigious Palestinian, nationalistic,
socialist, resistance fighter… resisting everything except love…
how you loved him and how he loved you… the rope of love is
long… it starts in the pit and reaches all the way up to God or vice
versa.
Meanwhile Hanane begins to wear the clothes of the woman from
Dahia (Shia Muslim women). Black gloves and hijab.

     Zahra: I was pregnant with my daughter and the cause… We
fought together. The Israelis detained you... They locked you up in
Ansar prison. During Eid, we went to the hill facing the prison to
wish you a happy Eid. The Israelis pointed their guns at us. They
killed three women and I was arrested and locked up in the Rejie
factory which they converted into a women’s prisons. I gave birth
inside the prison. I cut the umbilical cord using a stone and held
onto the cord of faith… I went in the prison as one and became
two and when I left I was three. Me, our daughter and God.

    Zahra puts the scarf on the shoulders of a member of the audience
and addresses him as if he is Muhammad.

   We have no one but Him. God bless his prophet. There is no
God but God. We worship only Him even if that makes the infidels
hate us… God bless Muhammad, and his family, and his friends,
and those who loved him, and his wives and his supporters…

   Suddenly Zahra stops and looks ahead with puzzlement.

    What’s wrong Muhammad? Why are you looking at me
strangely? Why are you sour? Why your body is tense? Your kiss
is awkward? Your saliva pinches? Your odour repulsive?

    Am I undesired? Three weeks have passed Jason and you did
not come near me! Not with your voice or hands or eyes! Look
me in the eye… Look at me… wow… this is not you, you are not
Muhammad… you are a cheater and in love… Love can reveal
what’s inside you.

   Zahra: I disowned my family for your sake.

   The husband, read by a member of the audience: I paid you a great
deal, I gave you two precious children.

                                                                 -25-
Zahra: I discarded my mother and father to follow you.

   Husband: When you run barefoot you drive me crazy. I wish
you’d calm down.

    Zahra: What’s the occasion, so you’d marry a whore?

    Husband: Begging the forgiveness of God!

    Zahra: Begging the forgiveness of God? Now you remember
God. God was dead when I met you. (In broken French) Dieu était
bien mort [God is dead] do you remember? And we paid God
no heed in every demonstration; but when I saw you in your
formidable beard after the battle of Khalda, after the Israelis
invaded in 1982. I screamed: O God, how beautiful you are! I have
been invaded by faith. The bigger your beard got, the bigger God
became. I loved you to death. I worshiped the ground you walked
on… I started to wear the headscarf then the hijab then the niqab.
I memorised the Quran so you would believe in me… your one
and only love… in the end you bowed between her legs… what did
you tell me is the punishment of the apostate, infidel?

    Husband: Your heart is made of stone.

    Zahra: It beats only for you.

    Husband: Your heart is a black stone.

    Zahra: My heart is a temple for your worship.

    Husband: Enough of your evil, woman.

    Zahra: The most evil thing about me is that I can’t let you go.

    Husband: Even if you were the whole world, I’d still let you go.

    Zahra: You are this world and the hereafter.

   Zahra retrieves the scarf and covers her face with it like a primitive
mask and begins reciting the following curse:
Zahra: Mohamed went on land, he found a tough woman. Not
wearing a hijab, bearing her teeth, howling like a wolf, barking like
a dog, neighing like a horse in the dead of night, she’s a destroyer
of palaces, a furnisher of graves. Turns light to darkness.

   He told her: curse you woman, you frightened my camel, made
my turban fall, turned my face ashen. God help me against you.

    She told him: Prophet of God, take from me the covenant of
God. I am the stubborn woman, I take any baby out of his bed, the
bull by his yoke. I can make the youth an old man and the old man
young again. I pierce your mother and father’s eyes and the envy
they sparkle with, the eye of the guest with the edge of a sword,
the eye of a neighbour with the edge of fire. I swear I’ll transport
you to a place the rooster will not crow, where the plant will not
grow, a place that will not be visited by Muhammad, God bless
him.

    And with the reading of the curse, her whole body shakes, bends and
breaks and she is left a heap on the floor, screaming a silent scream and
looks up to the sky.

    God I am in your sight, look at me… I am defeated… oppression
is backbreaking… my knees are weak. I can not stand up. I was
infested with lice on a moonless night… Please God, don’t let
Muhammad make me lose my faith. Don’t let him fleece me after
the whole world has fleeced me. Everything that I have built has
come tumbling down over my head and the head of my children.
I can’t doubt your existence and you will prove to me that you
exist. I’m wronged and you only you can make me right… I left
the world and all that’s in it and took you as my world and my
hereafter… I vowed that my children are for you to do with as you
please. I fed them with the milk of your revelation, they walked
along your path and made great gains. O God, be pleased with
me and let me be the mother of a martyr. O God let me and my
children have a house in your paradise… Is the pharaoh’s wife

                                                                     -27-
better than me?… The God that was able to part the sea so that the
pharaoh and his soldiers drowned, surely such a God could take
me to his heart. God with your stick split the heart of that dog! Let
me have justice from him. I accept your verdict… Let him for as
long as he roams see how high we are and how low he is. That low
life that wasn’t satisfied with the gift God gave him. What did you
say is the punishment of the apostate? The punishment of he who
killed a soul for no good reason? The one who took everything
and for whom nothing was sacred. God, if an eye for an eye and
a tooth for a tooth then I want you to get me justice from that
betrayer, infidel, low-life, cheap, liar, con artist. He who preaches
about the greater jihad and chastity whilst he crawled after
every petty desire he had… His evil will perish but your justice
is eternal… O most benevolent God… God is more mighty than
any evil… God is great. There is no God but God. God is great. God
is great. (Gradually the prayer turns to a litany in the voice of Hanane
as if we are in the pilgrimage to Mecca, Hanane spins around) God is
great. His praise is plentiful. There is no God but God. He fulfils his
promise. He makes his worshipers victorious. He defeats parties.
Him alone we worship, no one else. We are true to him even if we
are hated by the infidels. God save Muhammad and his family, and
his friends, and his wives and those who love him. God forgive me
and forgive my parents who raised me. There is no God but God.

    After a while Hanane stops, takes a deep breath and addresses the
public.

    Hanane: And that’s what happened. Two of Zahra’s children
died in the 2006 war against Israel, as they fought against the
“enemy” in the south. Zahra, like Medea, sacrificed her two
children. But Zahra has no magic chariot and her grandfather is
not the god of the sun. So far Zahra’s story is incomplete because
in 2013 her third son died while fighting in the north of Syria.

     Hanane grabs a letter and reads it embodying the role of Zahra one
last time:
Hello mum, what I am about to say I hesitated before I said
it but you have raised me to tell the truth. That’s what made me
pay with my life for my stance. I’ve lived for 19 years and today I
want to tell you that the time has come for me to escape out of this
world. Tonight I will be dead. They will carry me across the border
and bring back my body for you to identify. They will tell you I was
martyred but you will know that I was killed. And they will know
that you know. No one will know the identity of the killer except
you because no one has their strength and influence. You will find
it tough but you will raise your hands to the sky and say: “what
makes me endure this pain is that you can see this injustice”. You
will remember the martyrdom of Hussein, the slain son of the Ali
ibn Abi Talib*, God bless his soul and you will endure.

     I learnt from you that we are passing through this world. It’s a
corridor and not a base as you used to say to my dad when he was
obliged to sell his fruit juice store in the Martyrs Square after the
end of the war. I learnt that we have to fight injustice and not be
afraid of it. Blessed is he who dies oppressed and not oppressor.
They say I was a coward and didn’t kill! I - who couldn’t harm a
fly - was expected to kill and achieve victories. They wanted me
to kill whoever stood in my way even women and children. Why?
Begging the forgiveness of God. I didn’t agree mum and that’s how
I turned in a night and a day into a coward and a traitor.

    I was optimistic that when the leadership heard my side of the
story, they would punish those who detained me. There were no
vandals or ISIS. Maybe elsewhere were such people but all I saw
were hungry people who were being barrel bombed. The officer
didn’t even hear what I had to say. He hit me with his rifle and
hurled insults at me. He didn’t hit me to cause physical pain… he
hit me to humiliate and break my spirit. That’s when I discovered
that dignity is forbidden for the likes of us.

*       Ali ibn Abi Talib is the cousin of prophet Muhammad as well as his son in
law.

                                                                            -29-
Mother, don’t cry no matter what you hear. Don’t believe that
your son is a traitor, coward and an agent. If this is how one attains
martyrdom then I don’t want it. I don’t want to be a martyr. Let
me bear witness that they are liars. There is one thing left that
my heart desires. I would have liked you to do something for me,
something only you could have done.

    This is what I wanted: I didn’t want to rot in the earth. Neither
did I want my eyes or heart to be buried under the dirt. I didn’t
want anything to unite me to this country… I reject it… I didn’t want
to be buried, mum… I wanted to donate my heart, my kidneys, my
eyes, my bones and every part of me to someone that needs it… for
you to have given him my parts and not tell him who it came from…
I didn’t want anyone to know my name. I didn’t want a grave where
people can come and cry. I didn’t want them to make themselves
into heroes on the back of me. May God never forgive you if you
wear black, may he never forgive you if you let them call you ‘the
mother of the martyr’.

    On the Day of Judgment, we will be doing the judging and they
will stand accused. Let’s wait for the will of God… God is great.
I wish I could hug you until I die. And kiss your noble hand that
always closed my eyes before I slept. Mum... I love you.

    Silence.

    Hanane resumes running for a while. Lights begin fading out
gradually until stage black out. Hanane continues to jog in complete
darkness. The audience continues to hear the sound of her steps haunting
the stage. Silence.
JOGGING
Théâtre en chantier

Hanane Hajj Ali
JOGGING                   Théâtre en chantier
Une performance de Hanane Hajj Ali

Hanane, actrice et citoyenne libanaise dans la cinquantaine, fait
quotidiennement de l’exercice pour prévenir l’ostéoporose,
l’obésité et la dépression. Elle se promène dans son espace
personnel, intime, autant que dans les espaces ouverts de
Beyrouth. En chemin, elle revisite ses rêves, ses désirs, ses
espoirs, ses désillusions, ses personnages, et ses rôles –
principalement des Médées avec lesquelles elle partage une
part de son être.
Les effets de cette routine quotidienne sont contradictoires.
En effet, deux hormones sont libérées dans son corps pendant
l’exercice, la dopamine et l’adrénaline, qui sont à tour de rôle
destructives puis constructives, à l’image de cette ville qui
détruit pour reconstruire, et construit pour détruire.

Seule sur une scène vide, Hanane – femme, épouse et mère –
lève le voile sur son identité, devenant une actrice « dévoilée »
le temps de cette représentation où les personnages défilent
progressivement pour s’emboîter comme des poupées russes.
Personnages
(Tous les personnages sont joués par Hanane, la citoyenne, la mère,
la comédienne)

Hanane: comédienne
Yvonne: femme mariée, du Mont-Liban, 42 ans
Zahra: femme mariée, du Liban Sud, 50 ans

Membres du public: présentent la pièce et les personnages:
Yvonne, Zahra ainsi que le mari de Zahra.

Les textes soulignés sont des extraits d’œuvres diverses:
Euripide, Pasolini, Heiner Müller, Virginia Woolf, Reyhaneh
Jabbari, Guy Béart, Shakespeare.

                                                               -37-
Hanane est seule sur une scène nue, elle manipule quelques éléments
scénographiques. Le surtitrage est projeté sur un écran au fond de la
scène.

    L’entrée du public se fait au son des gargarismes de Hanane qui
servent à échauffer ses cordes vocales.

   Kh a b (déçu) - Kh a r (gazouille) - Kh a t (coudre) - Kh a f
(apeuré) - Kh a n (trahis)

   Kh b r (nouvelle) - Kh b z (cuire le pain) - Kh b es (mélange) -
Kh b t (frappe) - Kh b l (fou)

    Kh t l (caché) - Kh t n (circoncis) - Kh t m (scellé)

    Kh j l (intimidé)

   Kh d g (rayé) - Kh d r (drogué) - Kh d a (dupé) - Kh th l
(abandonné).

     Quand le public est installe, Hanane sort de sa poche une feuille de
papier et de mande a une spectatrice ou un spectateur de lire le texte qui
y est imprimé, le prologue de la pièce:

    Bonsoir, vous êtes les bienvenus. Le spectacle va commencer...
Ou plutôt il a commencé. Nous vous prions de bien vouloir
éteindre vos téléphones portables… Nous vous informons que
cette pièce de théâtre n’est pas légale. C’est une pièce illégitime;
un enfant naturel conçu dans la tête de la comédienne, sans
autorisation d’aucune instance officielle, en charge de la censure,

                                                                     -39-
sans document officiel, sans contrat et sans acte de naissance. Si
la non conformité aux lois illégales vous met mal à l’aise, si vous
ressentez une gêne ou une appréhension concernant le statut de
cette pièce, vous pouvez quitter en toute liberté la salle et même
vous faire rembourser le billet qui de toute faҫon vous a été offert
à l’entrée. Il est bien entendu interdit de prendre des photos ou de
filmer le spectacle car nous préfèrerions éviter le scandale.

     Hanane reprend ses exercices: Kh r b (détruit) - Kh r j (sorti) - Kh
r s (muet) - Kh r t (fraisé) - Kh r ‘a (apeuré) - Kh r f (sénile) - Kh r
k (violé) - Kh r m (pénétrer) - Kh r a (merde).

    Hanane (s’adressant au public): Quelle belle soirée! L’idéal
pour faire ces exercices vocaux est d’acoller les lettres Kh, R
et la dernière lettre de l’alphabet arabe pour obtenir Khara.
Je dois faire tous les jours quelques exercices de diction, avec
des sons bien précis, et ma gargariser afin de muscler mon
appareil phonatoire et d’améliorer mes capacités respiratoires.
« Khara » signifie « Merde » sauf le respect que je vous dois, et
pour rafraîchir l’atmosphère permettez-moi de vous souhaiter
une soirée parfumée au musc. Je suis une combinaison savante
des deux, mais ni tout à fait l’une ni vraiment l’autre, je vais
donc commencer par me présenter. Ceux qui me connaissent
apprendront qu’ils ignorent qui je suis, et ceux qui me découvriront
maudiront l’heure où ils m’ont connue. Selon les documents
officiels, je m’appelle Hanane Hajj Ali, fille de Ali Amin Darwich,
citoyenne libanaise de souche depuis plus de cinquante ans,
citoyenne française pas de souche depuis plus de dix ans, mariée
à un Français de souche, maronite de souche, depuis plus de dix
ans, il a été naturalisé sunnite depuis plus de dix ans. Je suis née
Chiite de souche, à Baabda. En raison de mon mariage, mon état
civil a été transféré bien malgré lui, du sud profond à Beyrouth
la capitale. De Nabatiyeh à Achrafiyeh. Privée d’état civil à mon
insu, depuis le transfert, la seule fois où je me suis décidée à voter
aux élections municipales, lors de la campagne « Mon pays, ma
ville, ma municipalité », je me suis rendue au bureau de vote que
l’on m’avait attribué, au Lycée de Rmeil. Et là, vous savez ce qu’on
me dit : « Sorry Madame, votre nom ne figure pas sur les listes. »
Aucune trace de mon nom ou de mon prénom. Un grain de sel qui,
sans le savoir, s’était dissout. Tant pis !

   Le mensonge est le sel des hommes et il se trouve que je suis
une femme !

   Cette femme a quatre enfants. Aucun d’eux ne vit dans ce
pays, aucun de leurs copains non plus.

    Une citoyenne qui entre de plain-pied dans la cinquantaine.
Elle fait son jogging tous les matins dans Beyrouth, pour éviter le
stress et l’ostéoporose. Courir lui procure l’équilibre psychique
et physique, grâce aux hormones que cela produit : adrénaline
et dopamine, la première a un effet apaisant et l’autre un effet
excitant. Lors de sa promenade sportive, elle laisse libre cours à
ses rêves, ses désirs, ses espoirs et ses désillusions et elle court,
toujours le même parcours, à Beyrouth, cette ville qui détruit
pour rebâtir et qui construit pour redémolir.

    Et hop, c’est parti pour un tour !

    Hanane se dresse et entreprend sa marche quotidienne. Elle varie le
rythme tout au long de son monologue.

     Hanane: Je commence ma journée comme ça. Je m’extirpe sans
bruit de sous la couette, je m’assieds sur le bord du lit, je mets
mes bas de contention, je prends mon cachet pour la thyroïde,
j’invoque Dieu. Je prends la bouteille d’eau à côté du lit et je bois,
je bois à en perdre le souffle… Je me lève et je sors de la chambre
sur la pointe des pieds, je fais mes ablutions, je prie. Je me glisse
de nouveau dans la chambre, je prends mon survêtement et mon
foulard, j’oublie l’épingle du foulard, je reviens dans la chambre
pour la prendre et je ressors pour m’habiller. Retour dans la
chambre pour prendre mes baskets et mes chaussettes, je les

                                                                   -41-
enfile et je pense à la banane et à l’IPod, je les attrape… Qu’est-
ce qui me manque encore pour avoir le look cool ? Le sweat. Je
me le noue à la taille, j’arrive devant la porte et je m’arrête… J’ai
sûrement oublié quelque chose…

     Zut ! Où sont les clés ? Je ne peux pas claquer la porte, ça va
réveiller tout le monde. Retour dans la chambre. Je jette un coup
d’œil sur la table de nuit, je regarde à côté du lit, parmi les photos
sur l’étagère au-dessus du lit, dans les quatre ou cinq sacs à main
qui traînent par terre au pied du lit, dans les sacs en papier, dans
les cahiers empilés sur la chaise en face du lit, je me plie en deux
et je regarde sous le lit, au cas où elles seraient tombées là… Je
retourne l’oreiller, la couette, le couvre-lit, je glisse la main dans
l’interstice qui sépare mon matelas de celui de mon mari… C’était
le bon vieux temps, celui du matelas de l’unité arabe. Que le
diable t’emporte Gamal Abdel Nasser* toi et Abdel Halim Hafez**.
Je fouille toutes mes poches, je cherche sur la table du téléphone,
sur les canapés, entre les coussins, sur le bureau, à côté des
médicaments, parmi les télécommandes. Je transpire… En vain.
Il y a trois choses que je cherche à plein temps: les lunettes, le
parapluie et les clés. Je ne sais jamais où je les ai posés. Ça doit
être héréditaire. Je n’ai bien-sûr pas cherché dans le réfrigérateur
ou dans la cuisinière ou dans la lessive, parce que je ne suis pas
l’héroïne de Dario Fo et je ne suis pas « la femme seule », l’héroïne
de sa célèbre pièce, celle qui est si déboussolée qu’elle a rangé les
couches avec les surgelés.

    Je suis la femme voilée cool, l’épouse du metteur en scène de
génie. Mon mari, cette montagne qui pèse si lourd sur mon cœur,
l’amour de ma vie... Et si je regardais dans le tiroir des culottes ?

*         Gamal Abdel Nasser, un dirigeant arabe de premier plan, président de
l’Egypte à partir de 1956 jusqu’à sa mort en 1970. Nasser a été décrit comme le
premier chef d’une nation arabe qui a contesté la domination occidentale du Moyen-
Orient. Nasser demeure un personnage vénéré en Egypte et dans le monde arabe.
**        Abdel Halim Hafez, mort en 1977, est parmi les chanteurs égyptiens et
arabes les plus populaires. Il a été en relation étroite avec le régime de Nasser. Il a
chanté les louanges du président Gamal Abdel Nasser en plusieurs occasions.
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