These days, the theatre and music Spring Festival is being held. (See the program here.) This is celebrated simoultaneously in Egypt and Lebanon, in the Egyptian cities of Cairo, Alexandria, Minya, and Assiut, and in Lebanon at the Horsh and the Sunflower Theatre in Beirut and Beit El Fan in Tripoli. The opening of this festival was by Cengiz Özek, from Turkey, with his show ‘Garbage Monster’. Özek is one of the most acclaimed shadow puppeteers in the world, as he renewed and is currently running the Turkish traditional puppet of Karagöz —very popular during the Ottoman period. Since 1986, when he started playing ‘Dünyayı Sev Yeşili Koru —Love the Earth, Protect the Green’, based on “the shamanistic sources of Karagöz”, as he tells in his website, Özek has developed a number of classical Karagöz plays. Also in 1998 he presented a modern version of it in ‘Çöp Canavarı —Garbage Monster’. This production was awarded by UNIMA Hungary as the “Best Traditional Performance”.
It is in fact a precious ecologist play: under the sea, a big fish eats patiently all the garbage people throws away, including Karagöz. It is a serious job, so the audience follows this “monster” under the water and into its stomach to discover what happens with all the garbage we disperse.
Cengiz Özek also organizes a festival in Instanbul thanks to his internationals relations. In fact, his company has traveled all over the world and started collaborations in different continents.
Beirut Spring Festival is also well known for its international framing. From now to May 13th, the program offers a good selection of music and dance performances. Among them, we underline ‘Yahya Yaïch Live’ by Fadhel Jaibi (May 12th and 13th), a very exiting show came out from the dynamic scene of Tunez.
The whole program is very intense, with featruring performances like the one by Checkpoint 303, from Palestine-Tunisia-France, or The Tausi Women’s Taarab, first all-female Tausi orchestra from Zanzibar. Also Classical Turkish Ensemble, the Lebanese Alexandre Paulikevitch, The Invisible Face of the Beloved from Tajikistan-Iran and Ajam from Iran-UK. This top quality program is completed also with a music workshop by Zapp4 Quartet from the Netherlands, and the performance by Dance Brigade from the USA —who closes this edition.