Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘“Once upon a time

Whispered tales from Lebanon? 

We are Sabine Choucair and Chantal Mailhac. We are two independent Lebanese artists, and this is our storytelling company “Whispered Tales“.

We are touring countries with a show conceived with a compilation of 10 stories collected from every corner in Lebanon; ordinary people’s extraordinary stories…Whispered Tales has been performed in different Lebanese villages, Jordan and Portugal…

Our project is to include touring the USA with some whispered tales from Lebanon!

The tales were whispered to us during a one-month road trip through the villages of Lebanon… Actually, it all started when we heard the mother of our friend telling us:

Once upon a time, Wadih and me met by the beach, fell in love and decided to get married. It was the 13th of April 1975 !”
That’s the date the Lebanese civil war started … 
But they did not lose hope … and their amazing story began:
And despite all hitches and obstacles, they kept on trying, every month to get married…until…

Looking back at that story (that was just the beginning…), that same evening, it occurred to us how absurdly funny, yet dramatic it was, telling living stories.

Historical facts can always be found on the internet and in books.  But the people’s truth is the reality they have livedexperienced and remember, that’s what we wanted to hear…

And that evening, we felt we needed more stories!

We felt the need to know about real people’s stories, their personal, extraordinary stories. We wanted to understand our culture, to archive the memories, gather them in a collective memory and carry them around the world… 

So we went on a road trip across the villages and towns of Lebanon to meet people, collect stories that had happened over the last 50 years.

A month later, we had collected 150 stories, about love, hate, community, life and death. We chose 10 amazing ones to be the “Whispered Tales” of our show.
This August, we will be in New York to take part in the “Between the Seas” festival.
We also have invitations to perform in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco to tell everyone these amazing stories from Lebanon.

Performances are  in English.

We figured that this touring project will cost us $5,000. This money will cover our flights to and from the USA, and the production of our show “Whispered Tales” in the different cities we will visit. It will pay for accommodation, food, props, etc.

Contributions are the only way this project can keep evolving.
We hope you can be part of this unique experience by pledging the amount of money that you think right for our endeavor.

Dates and venues:

New York:  Between The Seas festival
@ The wild project, August 25th & 26th
(www.betweentheseas.org)
Chicago: Taxim restaurant; September 2nd
San Francisco: September 7th ( venue to be confirmed)
Atlanta: Alif Institute; September 14th & 15th @ 7pm (www.alifinstitute.org)  Boston: CAC; Saturday 21st.

Sabine on the left and Chantal: Beauty is not that evident, need to meet them.
 

“Once upon a time, there was a King…” 

What else?  If not a king, then a queen, or a chivalrous knight, or a young beautiful princess, anyone that strikes the imagination of the common people who never have seen secretive “noble” individuals.

There are no new stories to invent: they were all told by the many cultures that we don’t know the languages and had never read their stories. The most enduring stories, through the ages, are the most common ones. Do not invent stories; just tell it.

Once upon a time, there was a King.  The astrologer warned the King that all his children must be males or he will lose the kingdom.

The first child was a girl and she was executed.  The second child was a girl and did not survive the day.  The third child was a girl, and it was becoming such a habit that control got lax and the mother got to see, hold, and feed her daughter.

This time around it was out of the question that this girl dies. The Queen bribed the executioner to save the child and fled the castle with the kid and a few servants.

The King tracked the Queen down. In his journey, he had to conquer other kingdoms, burn, and maim.  One tiny kingdom resisted and the Queen refused to meet and negotiate with the invading King. The Queen of the steadfast territory was ready to burn her kingdom and to fight to the last willing men.

The daughter of the Queen finally decided to meet with the King, spent the night with him, and saved her Kingdom.

The Queen was beside herself and suspected the worst in the generosity of this cruel King.

“What do you think was the end of this story?” said grand mom to the listening grandchildren. The kids wanted an ending to the story but grandmother refused to offer any: that was a mystery. No one had a satisfactory happy ending.

As she married, Safiya told her old father-in-law the story and asked him what the ending was. He replied “I did not even know the story. Anyway, it could not be but a tragedy since incest was consummated.

The next day, the old man relented and told Safiya that there could be an alternative happy ending; in general, for one happy event there are two tragic events. 

The ending should be decided on who must be happy the daughter, the Queen, or the King.

Should the moral Queen die? (What morality is there in the destruction of an entire population?)

Should the law enforcer of a King die? (What kinds of laws are so lawful to execute the supposed “traitors” for a King’s personal satisfaction?)  Should the daughter die in order to let her parents live “happily”?

We try hard to find a happy ending at the detriment of our own, because morality and customs decided that parents, relative, and community take precedent to our happiness.

In Greek tragedies everyone dies; in Shakespeare’s tragedies everyone dies or goes mad.

There is lack of imagination on the outcomes of the ending and people still flip the last page to know how the story ends.

It is so easy to let everyone die so that custom, tradition, ignorance, and censure win.  And yet, all these stupid tragedies are considered work of art for the ages.

No wonder society did not progressed at the same pace as sciences: stories fundamentally lack courageous alternatives that defy acceptable “common sense” outcomes.

Note 1: This story, with minor alterations, is taken from “Stone of Patience” (Syngue sabour) by the Iranian Atiq Rahimi.

Note 2: I won’t let this post ends without a joke.

An Afghani army recruit is asked by the sergeant “what are you carrying on your shoulder Ahmad?” The soldier replied “This is my rifle.”  The sergeant screams “This is your mother’s honor Ahmad, your sister, and your wife.”

“Once upon a time, there was a King…” (September 7, 2009)

 

            What else?  If not a king, then a queen, or a chivalrous knight, or a young beautiful princess, anyone that strikes the imagination of the common people who never have seen secretive “noble” individuals.  There are no new stories to invent; they were all told by the many cultures that we don’t know the languages and had never read their stories; the most enduring stories through the ages are the most common ones. Do not invent stories; just tell it.

            Once upon a time, there was a King.  The astrologer warned the King that all his children must be males or he will lose the kingdom.  The first child was a girl and she was executed.  The second child was a girl and did not survive the day.  The third child was a girl; it was becoming such a habit that control got lax and the mother got to see, hold, and feed her daughter.  This time around it was out of the question that this girl dies. The Queen bribed the executioner to save the child and fled the castle with the kid and a few servants.

            The King tracked the Queen; in his journey he had to conquer other kingdoms, burn, and maim.  One tiny kingdom resisted and the Queen refused to meet and negotiate with the invading King. The Queen of the steadfast territory was ready to burn her kingdom and to fight to the last willing men.  The daughter finally decided to meet with the King, spent the night with him, and saved her Kingdom.

            The Queen was beside herself and suspected the worst for the generosity of this cruel King. “What do you think was the end of this story?” said grand mom to the listening grandchildren. The kids wanted an ending to the story but grandmother refused to offer any: that was a mystery. No one had a satisfactory happy ending.

            As she married, Safiya told her old father-in-law the story and asked him what the ending was. He replied “I did not even know the story. Anyway, it could not be but a tragedy since incest was consummated.”  The next day, the old man relented and told Safiya that there could be an alternative happy ending; in general for one happy event there are two tragic events. 

            The ending should be decided on who must be happy the daughter, the Queen, or the King.  Should the moral Queen die? (What morality is there in the destruction of an entire population?) Should the law enforcer of King die? (What kinds of laws are so lawful to execute the supposed “traitors” for a King personal satisfaction?)  Should the daughter die in order to let her parents live “happily”?

            We try hard to find a happy ending at the detriment of our own because morality and customs decided that parents, relative, and community take precedent to our happiness.  In Greek tragedies everyone dies; in Shakespeare’s tragedies everyone dies or goes mad. 

            There is lack of imagination on the outcomes of the ending and people still flip the last page to know how the story ends.  It is so easy to let everyone die so that custom, tradition, ignorance, and censure win.  And yet, all these stupid tragedies are considered work of art for the ages.  No wonder society did not progressed at the same pace as sciences: stories fundamentally lack courageous alternatives that defy acceptable “common sense” outcomes.

 

Note 1: This story, with minor alterations, is taken from “Stone of Patience” (Syngue sabour) by the Iranian Atiq Rahimi.

 

Note 2: I won’t let this post ends without a joke.  An Afghani army recruit is asked by the sergeant “what are you carrying on your shoulder Ahmad?” The soldier replied “This is my rifle.”  The sergeant screams “This is your mother’s honor Ahmad, your sister, and your wife.”  Then the sergeant asks the next soldier “what are you holding in your arms?”  The soldier shouts “I am holding Ahmad’s mother, Ahmad’s sister, and Ahmad’s wife”. (Most probably this naïve soldier got shot in the neck at recess!)


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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