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Aleppo. A Portrait of Absence pictures

Aleppo. A Portrait of Absence description

The more intimate the space, the more powerful the message. In this extraordinary project, Syrian author Mohammed al Attar takes theatrical intimacy and personal testimony to a new level.

Ten actors ‘perform’ ten verbatim stories collated from interviews with people from the once vibrant, now utterly destroyed, city of Aleppo. The story you hear is the result of your random choice of a point on a huge city map. Each story is told face to face to a single spectator at a time. The act of telling, the necessity of listening, is everything.

Yes, the Syrian conflict is a nightmare of numbing proportions but these are not horror stories. Rather, they are simple tales and personal testimonies of places loved, and in this way the doomed city – once home to Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Armenians and Assyrians; a unique melting pot of Islam, Orthodox Christianity, Catholicism and more – is reborn, preserved and shared.

In asking what is left of a city when we are forced to leave it behind, Mohammad al Attar reminds us that the power of story is the real topography of a city: the memories of moments lived, of things lost, the dreams and hopes we associate with a place, and how we preserve those places that no longer exist.

An impressive homage to the power of story-telling. 

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