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33 RPM and a Few Seconds

Rabih Mroué and Lina Saneh

Sunday, April 27, 2014, 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM

33 RPM and a Few Seconds
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“They are to Beirut what the Wooster Group is to New York: a blend of avant-garde innovation, conceptual complexity and political urgency, all grounded in earthy humor” – The New York Times

A young Lebanese man takes his own life and, in a farewell letter, declares that his reasons are personal and have nothing to do with politics. But his suicide mobilizes a society desperately in search of meaning: institutions (official and unofficial, religious and secular, left-wing and right-wing) and individuals (young and old) find their own reasons. Does the young man’s death belong to the public or only to him and his relatives? Was he driven by the hope of an uprising?

In their semi-documentary work, Rabih Mroué and his partner Lina Saneh astutely reconstruct the final moments of a person’s life, at the same time passionately unmasking the problems of a country in which last year’s Arab revolutions have failed to strike a spark. Can an act of desperation, be it politically motivated or not, revive the hope for change in such a divided nation? The young man is dead but everything lives on, vibrating and communicating in his bedroom: the television, the answering machine, the computer … Time pauses and begins anew, history is pieced together – never constructed, of course – from so many fragments of communication.

Rabih Mroué is a Lebanese actor, director, and playwright. The winner of the 2010 Spalding Gray Award, his storytelling pits facts against made-up truths and propaganda that are imbued with a peculiar sense of humor and a visual sensibility honed from years as a visual artist. By means of a semi-documentary style theatre, Mroué's often-controversial work draws attention to issues and events that have been swept under the rug in the current political climate of the Middle East.

Lina Saneh is a theater maker who collaborates with Rabih Mroué, and writes and directs her own works of theater and video. In her earlier works, Saneh focused on physical theater as a way of addressing how our bodies are imprinted by sociopolitical conflicts and contradictions in the Middle East. Her current multimedia artworks, performing arts, and video works interrogate the status of our citizenship and our position in public spaces, and raise the possibility of creating a new political liberation. She is an assistant professor at the Institut d’Etudes Séniques et Audio-Visuelles at the Saint-Joseph University in Beirut and at the Saint-Esprit University in Kaslik.

Curator: Drew Klein

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