српски / english


Toneelhuis, Belgium
19.00 / SNT, “Pera Dobrinović” Stage / Friday / 29th June 2012

By and with: Duraid Abbas, Sarah Eisa, Ahmed Khaled, Julia Clever and Mokhallad Rasem
Video: Hamdan Saray
Technical production manager: Wouter Dupon
Produced by Monty / Executive producer: Toneelhuis

Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes


Iraqi by birth, theatre director and actor by training and an Antwerp resident for the last six years, in 2013 Mokhallad Rasem will become a new Toneelhuis-maker. In 2010 Rasem put himself on the theatrical map with “Iraqi Ghosts”, a dynamic play about the impact of war on his generation. Impossible to comprehend for the Western spectator, bitter reality for the twenty-somethings who have spent a large chunk of their lives at war. What is war? What is winning? What is losing? Rasem tackles this complex theme with the necessary lightness and humour, together with two actors who fled Iraq and two female Flemish-German actors in a theatrical language which surprisingly transcends the cultural differences. “Iraqi Ghosts” won the Young Theatre Prize at the 2010 Theater aan Zee festival in Ostend and then successfully toured Belgium and abroad.

In Dutch, English, German and Arabic


“The festival’s best kept secret was ‘Iraqi Ghosts’ by Belgium-based Iraqi director Mokhallad Rasem (Theaterformen, Germany). At the beginning, his actors perform a crescendoing modern dance charade as a giraffe, rooster and monkey, following which a friendly protagonist explains: ‘You were watching a scene about the life of animals in Baghdad.’ There has been a lot of talk of human suffering, less so of the other refugees who had to flee to the Iraqi capital during those days of chaos. This explains, for example, the lonely monkey sitting on a traffic light. War transforms the world into an open-air zoo – a strong image. But dissonance soon grows. For instance, on the eve of battle when a last supper is held with trembling silver platters and women mourners start wailing like sirens. For Rasem it’s all about the limits of representation, the exploitation and projection habits of the Western media, using horror as some kind of show. But when the actors accept an Oscar for best victim performance amidst a fanfare of trumpets, criticism unintentionally turns into accusations. As demonstrated by the Theaterformen festival, theatre doesn’t always work as an object of disillusionment.” Theater der Zeit

“Much the most surprising of this past theatre season: a processing of the war in Iraq in ten performance-like scenes. Sometimes presented as an Oscar presentation, another time as a gluttonous feast served on giant platters: the impossiblility of conveying the theme of ‘war’ results in very engaging theatre.” Wouter Hillaert, De Standaard.

“Iraqi Ghosts makes you realise how used we have nowadays become to the language of conventional war journalism… an unsettling play about an unsettling fact.” Stijn Dierckx, De Morgen

“The play also takes on the theme of the impossibility of conveying the experience of war. The use of humour is not does not only serve as a trick but embodies; behind the circus-like nature of the whole performance, the power of laughter. Something that also exists outside of the theatre, in really extreme situations, to make the unbearable bearable.” Lieven de Cauter, Rektoverso