Written and translated by Diana Kasem
The Levant News Exclusive — Amid this painful war, Syrians found themselves continuing life with a surprising strength. This country has proved its will to be, though facing a lot of sarcastic and ironic life details.
In the streets of Damascus, Syrians may meet a group of professional dramatists and musicians presenting a show that doesn’t lack neither the optimistic nor the joyful soul. It is a kind of performance series called “Gleam Project” (Wamda ومضة ), which has raised much of controversy between Syrian communities and different kinds of media.
Nagham Naaseh is a Syrian actress who has earned a bachelor of Dramatic Arts degree/ 2008. She had directed Gleam Project which is a dance and musical performance depending on Street Arts and hidden theater.
Though, the project was presenting nontraditional thoughts, styles and techniques, but it gained a wide popularity in the streets of Syria. The project shared recorded videos, depending on social networking websites and Youtube, and had a huge number of views.
The project was also documented by the filmmaker Amro Ali, and screened at Cairo Film Festival 2014.
Nagham said the idea started during a workshop with thalassemia patients, about hidden theater in 2012, and ended up with a successful show inside the hospital elevator. Then, the idea was developed, and introduced in corporation with professional musicians and actors in the streets of Damascus / 2013.
What pushes you, as an actress, to lead an entire art project, in the streets of Damascus, at such time of war?
You said “war”.. War creates creativity. Experiences of Suffering are accumulated, and we must summarize them using an artistic form in a peaceful manner.. And peace is the need of everybody living with war.
Eventually, I’m an actress, and I need to keep searching in different artistic tools.
Why have you chosen to experiment with such style of street art?
First; to get out of the traditional idea where theater must always be locked in a specific place, including curtains and guests, etc. Second; to break the war routine which is based on bombings, rockets, and martyrs. In Gleam project, we’ve violated the traditional ideas and came up with artistic flashes including theater, dance and singing, in order to get closer to people; going to them, not vice versa.
It is said that great tragedies arise in war times. As a Syrian artist, living hard political and humanistic circumstances, what expectations do you have, for your career and the future of Syrian art?
I don’t hide fears of the future and loss… Until this moment of our dialogue, we still hear sounds that frustrate us. However, we make interviews and speak about art. Life will continue. Everything in life is expected; Beauty and destruction.. And as an artist, I always see most beautiful sides. We should never stop working. The will of art creates our future. Even though it is an imaginable future, on which we build civilized hopes, but it helps our country to get up again.
What does the Syrian actress Nagham want to tell the world now?
I want you and I “to be” Otherwise, life will not continue.