February 28, 2010

I Went to Caracalla Friday Night.

Yes. So I went to Caracalla Friday night. The prime-minister knew I was going, so he showed up too (ahum). He thought “if she’s going, I’ve got to see this too.” Well, what can I say about Caracalla? Given that I was invited, I should speak only good.
I was with two people new to the Middle East, and they most certainly had never even heard of the founder of the UAE, sheik Zayed (if you wonder what on Earth I am talking about now, you sort of understand how we felt last night). For a while we thought it was some allegorical play about Jesus. Since that might be a bit odd, we assumed it was probably about the prophet Mohamed, it being his birthday that day anyway. After all, there was a birth somewhere in the desert and wise men that showed up with advice, and a wise man – Merlin wizard style – who sort of spoke the scenes together. The English translation – from classical Arabic – did not help much either. In between these acts, that puzzled us for quite some time, these dancers ran around, making big leaps left and right, but other than that, no real choreography could be discerned. Nor a story line.

Finally, it dawned on us that this was a tribute to sheikh Zayed, whom I had never heard of before, but that is due to my own ignorance, and who is the one who united the warring tribes into the United Emirates as we know them today. The founding father, so to speak.

The plot was missing. And the Caracalla dancers failed to impress me. Except for the Dabkeh. But even there, I must say I have seen more impressive displays of (impromptu) Dabkeh at weddings here.

Luckily, a dance troupe from Russia, China (I think) and some hot dancers from Spain saved the day at the last 15 minutes of the show, which made up for the earlier confusion, so we all went home happy.


Anonymous said...

* Daily Telegraph

"All credit to Abdel-Halim Caracalla for devising and producing such entertaining, exotic and exciting dance-drama..."

* Evening Standard

"A contemporary dance form that blends the great of the Orient with the earthiness of Western modern dance..."

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous,
did you SEE the show?
Another anonymous

Anonymous said...

Dear another anonymous,
did you see the quotation marks?

Francine said...

Lebanon (and it's PM) is going international: a tribute to sheik Zayed of the UAE. For once not a tribute to Fakhr El Din, Salah El Din or other Din. I notice though the dance is still as "entertaining, exotic and exciting" :)

Anonymous said...

I have seen a number of Caracalla shows and reached a point where I would buy tickets to his show without first reading the reviews. Big mistake. Zayed is nothing more than a basic, cheap, and shameless piece of propaganda. Caracalla has agreed to prostitute his art for a sleazy, obvious, and idiotic propaganda piece. He has remorselessly destroyed the only world-class artistic vision in the Arab world. Sad and deeply painful to watch. As the Arab nation is engaged in a historical struggle to shake the cult of personality in the Arab world, Caracalla has shamelessly agreed to prostitute his artistic vision, skill, and reputation in the service of a ridiculous, putrid, and primitive apotheosis. Caracalla deliberately chose to be on the wrong side of history, morality, and art of his nation. Profoundly disturbing and disappointing.

Anonymous said...

it is obvious that you guys do not know anything about art! this show was just amazing regardless the subject! this is the first time in the middle east where life animal are on stage with the dancer and where you have a 3D show without wearing glasses! try to do so then start talking about caracalla... it is obvious you never worked in the artistic field! i am american and trust me caracalla raise the artistic level of lebanon to international standard