Rituals of Signs and Transformations / by R. Sheth

March 89, 2014

Written by Saadallah Wannous
Translated from Arabic by Robert Myers and Nada Saab
Directed by Sahar Assaf

Featuring: Rom Barkhordar, Catherine Dildilian, Kamal Hans, Molly Pan, Anthony Peeples, Kevin Matthew Reyes, David Rhee, Amira Sabbagh, Glenn Stanton, and Juan Francisco Villa

In 1880s Damascus, two rival clerics are mired in a feud that tears the city apart. Political ambition, religious fundamentalism, and sexual hypocrisy fan the theatrical flames in this blistering critique of patriarchy and power in the Arab world.

Syrian playwright Saadallah Wannous (1941–1997) has been called both the Bertolt Brecht and the Wole Soyinka of the Arab theatre. His plays are to the Arab world what Vaclav Havel’s plays were to the Iron Curtain.

This translation of Tuqus al-Isharat wa-l-Tahawwulat (Rituals of Signs and Transformations) from Arabic to English was commissioned by Silk Road Rising and funded by a grant from the The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The English translation premiered in Beirut in December of 2013 at the Babel Theatre, produced by the American University in Beirut and Robert Myers, and directed by Sahar Assaf. This translation also received a staged reading in March 2014 at the Segal Theatre Center at CUNY Graduate Center in New York City, and it appears in Four Plays From Syria: Sa’dallah Wannous, published by CUNY’s Martin Segal Theatre Center, for which co-translator Robert Myers wrote the introduction.