STOCKHOLM: In a theatre in Stockholm’s suburbs, a small crowd gathered to observe three actors, two Syrian and one Swedish, act out the lives of a younger migrant couple settling into life in Sweden.
However the language spoken by the troupe on the sparsely adorned stage within the small municipal theatre was Arabic, not Swedish.
This group has spent 4 years performing within the language, making it the primary of its form catering to Sweden’s Arabic audio system.
Their Stockholm play was primarily based on interviews with younger migrants who arrived in Sweden from 2015, when a couple of million folks principally from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan made their method to Europe.
Sweden took in some 160,000 asylum seekers, the best quantity per capita of any European Union nation.
After the efficiency — one of many final earlier than anti-coronavirus measures shut theatres — Iraqi-Syrian actor Helen al-Janabi mentioned the shortage of alternatives for younger Arabic audio system in Sweden to specific themselves prompted her to launch the corporate along with her Swedish husband in 2015.
“There is a critical lack of Arabic cultural actions,” she mentioned on the Stockholm workplace she shares along with her husband, Oskar Rosen.
That hole was a very sore spot for Janabi, 40, who had labored in theatre in Damascus earlier than arriving in Sweden and located subsequent to no probability of utilizing her expertise in her new house.
With Rosen, 55, she excursions small theatres with a rotating forged, usually in areas with excessive populations of not too long ago arrived migrants.
Up to now they’ve carried out 400 instances in entrance of an estimated 20,000 folks in whole.
Whereas all performances are in Arabic, the group additionally goals to draw as huge an viewers as potential, and an LED board over the stage all the time provides a translation of the dialogue into Swedish.
Most not too long ago, they produced Midnight Solar, the story of a younger couple — an Iraqi man and a Syrian lady — who arrived in Sweden in 2015, depicting their trials with integration, the asylum course of and racism.
Syrian playwright Waseem al-Sharqi, who now lives in Berlin, wrote the script after studying via the transcripts.
He picked out recurring themes and experiences the migrants talked about, reminiscent of loneliness and the difficulties of integration.
“A big a part of the viewers inform us after the efficiency they both see themselves within the performing characters, or a part of the processes they have been via,” the 30-year-old mentioned throughout a go to to the Swedish capital.
Farah Jarrar, a Syrian in her early thirties dwelling in Stockholm who watched the efficiency, agreed.
“I have been on this nation for greater than two years, it is very arduous transiting from one society to a different,” she mentioned as actors and the viewers mingled behind her.
The group has additionally travelled to a number of international locations exterior Sweden to placed on theatre workshops, however the firm has put performances on maintain since gatherings of greater than 50 to curb the novel coronavirus have been banned.
“We aren’t performing in any respect, and we do not know once we can carry out once more,” Rosen mentioned. “We’ve scaled down our work and are attempting to outlive.”
Within the meantime, Janabi and Rosen are recording productions and posting them on-line — in hopes of getting again into theatres once more sooner or later.