Two Heads and a Hand
Shakespeare’s savage political commentaries on the government made of him a major political thinker. Since his early works, he asked his audience to consider questions that criticize leadership: What does it mean to be a king? What constitutes a good ruler? When should a ruler be obeyed or disobeyed? Can rebellion be justified? How is political power acquired and maintained? From here, Shakespeare’s plays constitute a reflection on the concept of leadership and power, like any political or historical argumentation. In reading his plays, especially the histories, it is clear that political issues are at their core.
In most parts of the Arab world individual power has been the norm of leadership, dictators and specific political figures have been ruling over people’s lives for decades. Even in Lebanon, where we’ve not had one dictator rule the country, we have a culture that is obsessed with certain leaders and male figures that have been in government for years. After the revolutions and the regimes that resulted from them and the wars that followed and continue, and within the governmental inadequacy in Lebanon, power is shifting towards multiple and unexpected coalitions, however figures of patriarchy are still moving and shaking the region, which seems to be holding on to images of ruthless authority. We are interested in asking Shakespeare’s questions today, in order to analyse and question the dominant archetypes of patriarchy in our context.
Presentation dates and locations
Presented in its original version in October 2016 during 20 years of al-Madina at Al-Madina Theater Beirut, and in December 2016 at Mansion, Beirut.
Presented as a developed version in April 2018 at Zoukak Studio, Beirut.
Devised and directed by: Lamia Abi Azar, Omar Abi Azar, Junaid Sarieddeen and Maya Zbib
Performed by: Lamia Abi Azar, Junaid Sarieddine and Maya Zbib
Assistant director: Sari Shrayteh
Scenography: Jean Francois Garraud
Graphic design and digital art: Maya Chami
Produced by: Zoukak Theater Company
Supported by: Drosos
This performance was first presented in 2016, with the support of the British Council and Al Madina Theater and in collaboration with Nadim Deaibes on light and scenography.