Mixing traditional theatre with modern technology, a new Syrian version of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is offering a unique twist on the classic love story. Romeo is a young Syrian refugee in Jordan, and his beloved is trapped in the region of Homs - their only means of communication through Skype and other online tools. Playing out on the rooftop of a makeshift hospital for Syrian refugees in the Jordanian capital Amman, the new production aims to highlight the plight of those who have escaped Syria’s devastating civil war - and those left behind.
We wanted, through this unique work, to draw attention to the areas under siege by the regime in Syria after the failure of humanitarian organisations to send food, water and medicine there.
The play’s director, acclaimed Syrian actor Nawar Bulbul
The play’s Romeo is Ibrahim, a 12-year-old who lost his mother and three of his siblings in regime shelling of Damascus last year. Three operations to his right leg saved it from amputation, but the road to recovery is long and he requires two more operations. Its Juliet is a 14-year-old girl cut off from help and her extended family. Juliet’s identity and exact location are kept secret, and she wears a veil throughout the performance. As the audience watches, their love story unfolds with Ibrahim sitting before a video feed projected on a white canvas. For the audience, many of them Syrian refugees as well, the play has driven home how much their country has lost.
There is no more love in Syria like in this story. The war destroyed all that is beautiful in my country. We young men are the biggest victims of this insane war, and everyone had a love story with someone. But now we don’t know where they are or if they are still alive.
Mohammed Halima, a 24-year-old wheelchair-bound refugee who is receiving treatment after being shot five times two years ago in Syria