“Amal”: Play about the dream of a world without war

Sadeq Dehghan

Staff writer

The international section of the 41st Fadjr Theater Festival is currently ongoing in the theaters of Tehran, with performances from Spain, Jordan, Oman, Russia, Brazil, and Iraq. One of the performances, a play named “Amal” from Iraq, directed by “Javad al-Asadi,” a well-known director in the Arab world, was performed on stage.

Al-Asadi talked about the play in an interview with Iran Daily. He said that the word ‘Amal’ in Arabic literally means hope or wish.

“This show actually refers to human desire. It is the story of a young couple who will soon have a child, but the mother is worried about the future due to the problems she sees in the world of war, crime and bloodshed surrounding her. Therefore, she hesitates to give birth to her child. She believes that if a child is going to be born, it will probably perish in the war or its life will be ruined by drugs. Or maybe its head will be cut off and the body will be dismembered by ISIS and other terrorists, so it is better for the child not to be born in the first place. But the husband insists that she should give birth to the child and this has created a big challenge for the life of this couple.”

The play examines the issue that preoccupies the couple’s minds, which is if a child enters this world, with the current situation of war and bloodshed and other issues that prevail, will it be able to achieve its dreams?

According to Al-Asadi, the play raises the question in the minds of the audience: How far will this chaotic situation in the world go on, and what fate awaits the children?

“This work was performed on stage for the first time last year at the Baghdad International Theater Festival and won top ranks in almost all categories including acting, writing, directing, stage design and music. In fact, the best Iraqi actors perform in this play, and two Iraqi stars, namely, Haider Juma, in the role of the husband, and Rabab Ahmad, in the role of the wife, have performed exceptionally well in this play,” the Iraqi director told Iran Daily.

The second official performance of this play was held at the Fajr International Theater Festival, and in the future it is going to be performed in many festivals including in Germany and several African countries.

“From now on, we are on a long journey to perform this show in different places,” Al-Asadi said.

In response to the question of how much the idea of this play came from his own personal experience and concerns in Iraq, the director said that the issues examined in Amal are universal issues; they are not limited to a specific geographical location.

“The presence of ISIS in Iraq and the war in this country may have fostered the idea of the play in my mind, but the world today is facing issues such as economic problems, racism, etc., that do not belong to a specific location. Yet, the most important issue that worries the people of the world today is the issue of war and terrorism and the spread of drugs,” he added.

Referring to the role of art in creating closeness and friendship between nations, Al-Asadi said that in this section of the Fadjr festival, theater and art brought everyone together and made them more connected.

“Because of this friendship and unity, we can defeat terrorists and perpetrators of war and bloodshed,” he noted.

According to Al-Asadi, the performance of this play in Tehran may be the beginning of further cooperation between actors and artists in the field of theater in the two countries. Recently, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Ahmed Musa, the head of the Iraqi Cinema and Theater Foundation, and Kourosh Zarei, the secretary of the 41st Fadjr International Theater Festival, for the development of theatrical cooperation between the two countries, which will definitely be implemented in the future and joint performances and productions will certainly be on the agenda of Iran and Iraq.