Lit & Found: A Translation of Wael Kadour’s Short Play, ‘Up There’

The 2023 issue of Arab Stages includes a translation of Syrian playwright Wael Kadour’s short play Up There, a play based on the testimonies of former detainees in Syria, and the two plays The Lady from the Sea and The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen.

It was translated by Wael Kadour with support from Rabab Al-Boutty, Hassan Abdulrazzak, and Eckhard Thiemann and premiered on December 2022 at Theatre An der Ruhr in Germany.

In his introduction to the play, theater historian and Arab Stages editor Edward Ziter writes:

Up There induces a radical sense of displacement. Kadour’s own experience of forced migration is powerfully evoked in a dramaturgy that undermines the boundaries between the real and the fictional and the past and the present. Kadour plays a fictionalized version of himself in the production, which he codirected with Mohamad Al Rashi. It recounts details of Kadour’s flight including actual images of his office after it was ransacked by the Syrian secret police. The play takes as its starting point a real event, the 1991 clandestine staging of Ibsen’s The Lady from the Sea by the female political prisoners of Syria’s Douma prison. Kadour then inserts himself into this history, imagining that he learned of the production when he lived in Syria, not thirty-two years later while living in exile.

Find the full text of Up There as a PDF on Arab Stages.