4 October 2012 | Thursday 20:00
Haliç Congress Centre
Full: 40 TL Discount: 20 TL
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One of the most successful examples of ‘documentary theater’ by Rimini Protokoll, Radio Muezzin opens a window into the lives of four muezzins from Cairo and depicts in an extremely touching and humane way the ‘precarization’ of ‘spiritual workers’ through the processes of mechanization and centralization.
(in Arabic, with English and Turkish surtitles. It takes place both on the 4th and 5th of October.)
The first muezzin was a freed slave, because he had such a sweet voice. Until the 50s blind muezzins often climbed up to the minaret in order to call to prayer to all four directions of town. In present-day Cairo most of the muezzins are employed by the State. Some of them sleep in the mosque and only seldom visit their family living in the village. Apart from calling to prayer they are also frequently the janitor of the house of worship, they lock up the building and organize its cleaning.
Cairo is called the city of the thousand mosques. In reality there are some 30,000. Above the town the cries become one big, manifold sound layer. This is supposed to change now: The Minister for Religious Affairs during the Mubarak regime was introducing the centralized muezzin. Via one radio station one proclaimer each was to go on air for simultaneous transmission from all state-owned mosques. And thousands of Egyptian muezzins will remain silent?
Four Egyptian muezzins are the principal characters in Radio Muezzin: a blind Qur’an teacher who spends two hours on the mini-bus each day to get to the mosque; an Egyptian farmer’s son and former tank driver, who vacuum-cleans the mosque’s carpet on a daily basis; an electrician who after having been a migrant worker in Saudi Arabia and having been involved in a serious accident started to recite the Qur’an by heart, and a bodybuilder and vice world champion in reciting the Qur’an, whose Qur’an cassettes are very popular among taxi drivers. Radio Muezzin makes them meet an engineer who learned how to encrypt radio signals at the Aswan High Dam. In a mosque of carpets and ventilators they all become the protagonists in a reconstruction of their lives; they become individual representatives of a religious culture, whose many faces are often being reduced to hostile images in Europe. Between their words and the video images of their everyday-life new voice images come into being, speaking about the transformation of the call to prayer in the age of technical reproduction.
After three months of research, rehearsals and a try-out in Cairo Radio Muezzin had its world premiere in Berlin in March 2009, where loud calls to prayer are prohibited.
With: Abdelmoty Abdelsamia Delmoty, Ali Hindawy, Hussein Gouda, Hussein Bdawy, Mansour Abdelsalam, Mansour Namous, Mohamed Ali, Mahmoud Farag, Sayed Abdellateif, Mohammed Hammed, Said Gouda Hussein Salem | Concept and Direction: Stefan Kaegi (Rimini Protokoll) | Composition and Sound Design: Mahmoud Refat | Artistic Collaboration: Juliane Männel | Video Design: Bruno Deville, Shady George Fakhry (Cairo) | Dramaturgy: Laila Soliman | Stage Design: Mohamed Shoukry | Light Design: Sven Nichterlein, Saad Samir Hassan (Cairo) | Director’s Assistance/Performance: Dia Hamed | Technical Direction: Sven Nichterlein, Saad Samir Hassan (Cairo) | Video Operator: Bodo Gottschalk | Production Management: Lena Mody, Katinka Vahle, Juliane Männel, Lana Mustaqh (Cairo) | Touring Support: Samah Samir, Mohamed Sleiman, Mohamed Mostafa | Translation and Surtitles: Ebtihal Shedid, Ahmed Said, Ghada El-Sherbiny | Thanks to: Mohamed Sleiman, Sakina Abushi, Neuköllner Begegnungsstätte Berlin, e.V., Doa Aly, Khaled Samy, Ahmed El Attar, Mourad Sadek, Heba Afifi | Production: HAU Berlin and Goethe-Institute Egypt | Co-production: Festival d’Avignon, Bonlieu Scène Nationale Annecy, Festival d’Athènes et Épidaure, Graz Steirischer Herbst Festival, Zürcher Theater Spektakel | Funded by: The German Federal Cultural Foundation, Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, the Department of the Mayor of Berlin – Senate Chancellery – Cultural Affairs | In cooperation with: El Sawy Culturewheel, Cairo
Surtitles Turkish translation: Bekir Bilgili
Stefan Kaegi produces documentary theatre plays, radio shows and works in the urban environment in a diverse variety of collaborative partnerships. Using research, public auditions and conceptual processes, giving voice to ‘experts', who are not trained actors but have something to tell. This is how he directed Mnemopark, a model railway world in the Basel Theatre – a live film (set in 1:87 scale) that has been shown in over thirty cities between Tokyo and Montreal. Kaegi has toured across Europe and Asia for over three years with two Bulgarian lorry drivers and an adapted truck for Cargo Sofia. In 2010 he was awarded with the Prize for Cultural Diversity by the European Cultural Foundation. In 2011 he developed Bodenprobe Kasachstan about migration and oil in central Asia.
Kaegi also produces work together with Helgard Haug and Daniel Wetzel, under the label “Rimini Protokoll”. Rimini Protokoll's purpose is to prize apart the sense of reality and present all its facets from unusual perspectives. In this way the trio of directors reproduced the full session of the German Parliament using 200 citizens from Bonn (Deutschland 2). In Deadline, they presented five experts of the central European way of dying, and reconstructed the bankruptcy of the Belgian national airline Sabena in Brussels (Sabenation). The latest productions include Call Cutta in a Box, a one-to-one telephone performance that takes place live from a call centre in India, 100% Berlin, a living arrangement of statistics for 100 citizens on a revolving stage and Hauptversammlung (“Annual General meeting”), a parasitic intervention on the occasion of the shareholders' meeting at Daimler.
In 2007, Rimini Protokoll was awarded with the Faust Theatre Prize, in 2008 with the European Prize “New Realities in Theatre” and in 2011 with the Silver Lion in the Venice Biennale for performing arts.
Since 2006, Kaegi has often worked with Lola Arias, most recently in Chácara Paraíso with Brazilian policemen and Airport Kids with global nomads aged between 7 and 13. Together they curated “ciudades paralelas / parallel cities” a portable festival for urban interventions.
Since 2003 Stefan Kaegi and Rimini Protokoll are Artists-in-Residence at HAU / Hebbel am Ufer Berlin.
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