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Discourse 24.1 (2002) 99-110
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Come in Sir, We Will Wait for You Outside
Tony Chakar and Rabih Mroue
Translated by Tony Chakar
This play was presented in the Théâtre de Beyrouth, from 3 to 6 July 1998, during a series of presentations and lectures entitled "50 Nakba and Resistance." 1 It was staged and played by Rabih Mroueh, Tony Chakar, Abla Khoury and Samer Qaddoura. The play was produced by Funûn-Théâtre de Beyrouth.
The stage is reduced to a strip measuring l x l0 meters. A fixed black wall that extends all the way to the ceiling forms the background. Niches in the wall contain three televisions; underneath each one is a VCR. A small rotating lamp is placed next to each television. In front of the wall, three video cameras are fixed on three tripods. The lamps and cameras are turned towards three rotating office chairs.
The three televisions are turned towards the audience; the chairs face the televisions and have their backs to the audience. Next to each chair lies a microphone; the actors will hang the microphones around their necks.
A black table is set on the stage to the left of the audience; the light control panel and a stereo are placed on the table. Behind it are a chair and a microphone similar to the ones mentioned above.
A slide screen is set to the right of the audience on the stage.
Many VHS videotapes are stacked next to each chair. [End Page 99]
Four actors move towards the chairs, wearing their everyday clothes. The lighting is dim and comes from the slide machine, which was placed outside the stage, to the right of the audience. It is projecting a caption on the white screen, which reads: "The Theater of Beirut presents." The actors take their places on the chairs and start preparing themselves to begin the show.
After the image projected by the slide machine is turned off, the theater is in total darkness.
ACTOR 2 places a videotape in VCR 2. The tape's images appear on TV 2.
The movie: The Lebanese flag flapping in the wind for approximately 3 and a half minutes (the length of the Lebanese National Anthem). No sound is heard.
ACTOR 1 places a videotape in VCR 1. The tape's images appear on TV 1.
The movie: Credits for the play:
—50 Nakba and Resistance
—The Theater of Beirut presents
—Come in Sir, We Will Wait for You Outside
—A play staged by:
—Rabih Mroueh, Tony Chakar, Abla Khoury, Samer Qaddoura
After this introduction,ACTORS 1-2-3 turn on the small rotating lamps. The light shines directly on their faces. They turn on the video cameras that broadcast their faces to the TVs.
The audience sees the faces of the actors on the TVs. The actors remain silent for three minutes while staring at the video cameras next to them; the effect is of them looking directly at the audience.
ACTOR 4 breaks this long silence by tapping on his microphone with his finger, as if he is making sure that it's working.
The idea of this presentation is very simple: Stay where you are and we will bring you Palestine. [End Page 100]
ACTOR 3 places a videotape in VCR 3. The videotape's images appear on TV 3. The movie: Pictures of Palestine before the Nakba, accompanied by Fayruz's song O Wooden Bridge.
ACTORS 1 and 2 look towards TV 3. On TVs 1 and 2 the audience can see ACTORS 1 and 2's profiles.
You can sit comfortably while you watch others sweat.
ACTOR 3 places a videotape in VCR 3. The videotape's images appear on TV 3. The film: Pictures of Palestine during and after the Nakba, accompanied by Fayruz song's Old Streets of Jerusalem.
After three minutes, the pictures start to jump, then become blurred. The song slows down gradually then stops (as if the tape is...