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06.09.18

Berlin debut: The Factory by Mohammad Al Attar and Omar Abusaada on 27 September

The Factory © David Baltzer

After Iphigenia, their last production at the Volksbühne, playwright Mohammad al-Attar and director Omar Abusaada, both hailing from Syria, continue their reflections on their homeland’s devastating upheavals. The Factory, a co-production with the Ruhrtriennale, is making its Berlin debut on 27 September. Al-Attar and Abusaada developed the piece together with a group of Syrian actors: Lina Murad, Ramzi Choukair, Saad Al Ghefari and Mustafa Kur. Together they deconstruct one of the most disturbing aspects of the war: the alliance between money and power.

In 2010, the French construction corporation Lafarge opens a cement factory in northern Syria. It is one of the largest foreign investments ever made in the country. Some months later, a peaceful revolution against Bashar al-Assad’s totalitarian regime breaks out. The destabilised country quickly stumbles into a brutal civil and devastating proxy war. Lafarge’s owners and business partners, however, insist on keeping the factory running. A factory located at the heart of the armed conflict, not far from Rakka.

Over the years, different warring factions rule the region until the Islamic State takes complete control over the area at the end of 2013. The management arranges to pay tolls and protection money to the prevailing warlords in order to keep the factory running. An ordinary work-related accident finally leads to initial investigations into a network of corrupt businessmen, which become the starting point for a trial currently being conducted in France against LafargeHolcim.

Alongside this new production, on 24 September Mohammad al-Attar is hosting a group of experts to discuss Syria’s war economy and reconstruction – two issues that are central to the piece. The group includes: Shaza Alsalmoni (Syria), director of the international law department at the Syrian Legal Development Programme in London; AlHakam Shaar (Syria), recipient of the Holbrooke fellowship from the Aleppo Project at the Shattuck Center on Conflict, Negotiation and Recovery in Budapest; Claire Tixeire (France), legal advisor at the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. The event was planned by Mohammad Al Attar as part of a fellowship awarded by the Allianz Kulturstiftung in the “Weltoffenes Berlin” programme from the Senate Department for Culture and Europe. In English.

The Factory
Berlin debut: 27 September, 19:30
Additional performances: 29.09., 6.10., 14.10., 19.10., 19:30 (pre-show talks on 29.09., 14.10. and 19.10., 18:45)
Arabic with German and English surtitles

Direction: Omar Abusaada
Text: Mohammad Al Attar
Set and costume design: Bissane Al Charif
Lighting design: Denise Potratz
Video: Rami Farah, Samer Ajouri
Make-up design: Mohamad Omran
Dramaturgy: Alan Twitchell
With: Lina Murad, Ramzi Choukair, Saad Al Ghefari, Mustafa Kur, Saleh Katbeh (Music)

Tickets are available at the Volksbühne box office, by telephone on +49 (0) 30 2406 5777 and online at www.volksbuehne.berlin. Anyone who purchases a ticket for The Factory may buy a ticket for the Syria's economy and reconstruction discussion in the Roter Salon at a reduced price of 4 euros.

Please contact the press office at presse@volksbuehne-berlin.de or by telephone on +49 (0)30 24065 610 with press ticket requests and any other questions.

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