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For some theater lovers, an evening's entertainment entails a comfortable separation between audience and performer."Atlantis" has been devised by Lina Issa and Mayar Alexan, a pair of Syrian- and Dutch-trained performers, with Argentine composer-multi-instrumentalist Santiago Cordoba, who accompanies each performance live.This "act" of the play is sandwiched between two other pre-recorded monologues in which Cordoba's music and Issa and Alexan's, sometimes ritually inflected, movement are central features.Apparatus are distributed for individuals to listen to a recorded monologue in standard Arabic (English-language typescripts are available). The conceit of the play's first, highly poetic mode is that the sea is sentient, with a memory of the human beings that have physically interacted with her.Having heard the sea's perspective, the performance begins in earnest, with a panicked-looking Alexan appearing on the balcony of the structure behind the, by now standing, audience.This choreography blends into an encounter between Alexan and Issa, whose movement suggests the sea's embrace of a drowning man.The audience are encouraged to use the tubes as seating, staring seaward as Issa and Alexan – now draped in blankets like freshly landed refugees, their faces lit by a lone lamp – take turns recounting the (colloquial Arabic) monologues of migrants who have survived a life-raft Mediterranean crossing.
A story of desire, memory and lies
Oum Kulthum, post-Arab Spring
Underground song, dance, revelry
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