Theatre Performance
2002, 40'

"After death, everyone interviews one's self, one asks questions and one answers one's questions. Why not record all the questions I've always wanted to ask myself, but haven't been able to answer." (Biokhraphia)

Rewind (when you wish for a different past). Fast Forward (when the present is no longer comfortable). Play (and hope for a better future).
Rewriting one's own past might appear to be a game. When the rule of 'not getting into details, but keeping busy with generalities' is not respected, the process becomes painful. 'Truths' dissolve. 'Fictions' take their place. Linearity is broken and the vicious cycle never ends.
Coming from Beirut, real-life partners Lina Saneh (b. 1966) and Rabih Mroué (b. 1967) bring their Biokhraphia (2002) with - a short performance shifting one's perspective on what a biography might be. As a visible, legible and complete past archive, with a clear beginning and ending, 'biography' is found as unsuitable for recording the individual (victimised) life in places tyrannised by diverse powers including state, law, religion, tradition. Therefore a new genre is being created, both as a term and as an artistic form. Biokhraphia splits into bio (Greek 'life'), khara (Arab 'shit'), and phia (Arab 'within'), bringing 'shitty biography' to life. Metaphorically, the title refers to crises in art, media world, political and private life in contemporary Lebanon, or in other words, troubles in defining (the construction of) Arab identity. Furthermore, Biokhraphia represents a farewell to the past in order to start everything again from (a lucky) scratch. As many times it takes to start at the beginning again.
Living in a country with a limited formal theatrical tradition, Saneh and Mroué use theatre to call into question the fundamental roles of theatre and performer, simultaneously creating an innovative representational form. Faced with a fictitious interview and extra-ordinary conversation, the audience might find itself confused about who is who among the three artist's selves (herself, audio and video) or whom they represent. Perhaps the social, private and artistic selves, although they exchange their 'bodies' throughout the play. None of them, however, can escape the political - especially the shadow of civil war.
Biokhraphia seems to have reached its culmination at the very moment when art (the video projection of the artist) takes the artist's place and itself becomes challenged. As a response to 'censorship torture', art shoots itself. But it gets a second chance. And survives.
Confronted with and accused by the voice of 'generational bankruptcy' (literal and spiritual), the artist finds a clever way out - through a surprise.
Giving her soul away for art? Making a living? Or claiming it as art?
("I'm acting. I'm acting.")
Milijana Babić

Text, directed by: Lina Saneh & Rabih Mroué
Stage design: Ali Cherry
Performed by: Lina Saneh
Production: Ashkal Alwan, Beirut
Arabic, overtitled in Slovene
Translated by: Mohsen Al Hady

Organisation: City of Women
In co-operation with: Cankarjev dom


Date and time of event: 
Oct 06th 20:00
Place of event: 
Cankarjev dom