The Speaker’s Progress
Running time, 90 minutes 
2011––12
A forensic reconstruction of Twelfth Night transforms into an unequivocal act of defiance towards the state. Third part of the Arab Shakespeare trilogy. A dark satire on the decades of hopelessness and political inertia that fed recent revolts across the Arab region.

Conceived by Georgina Van Welie and Sulayman Al Bassam
Written and Directed by Sulayman Al Bassam

Running time: 90 minutes without interval
Performed in Arabic and English (with surtitles)


Ur
Running time, 90 minutes
2015—18

This piece was inspired by the Sumerian text, The Lamentation for the Destruction of Ur. This artifact can be seen at the Louvre Museum in Paris. The text is inscribed on a rectangular clay tablet. In echo of this tablet, I suggest performing the play with the audience seated in traverse on two sides of a raised, rectangular performance platform.

The text has been written in English for bi-lingual performance in Arabic and German. The play can be performed in any language/s. Nevertheless, it must be understood that the German characters in the 1903 scenes speak a different language from the locals. This is crucial for the understanding of the colonial critique – and satire – presented in Act Three, scenes one and three. The scenes from Ur, set in 2004 B.C. are a reflection on the events of the Syrian civil war (2011-2015).

Co-Produced by Residenztheater, Munich; The Arab Fund for Arts & Culture; SABAB Theatre.

Running time: 90 minutes without interval
Performed in Arabic and German (with surtitles)



In the Eruptive Mode
Running time, 65 minutes 
2012––16
Voices from the hijacked Spring–– a new form of logistically light, content rich work, developed in response to the ongoing struggles of the Arab Spring.

A series of short scenes exploring the themes of violence and desire in the contemporary Arab world. Written as a series of mocking, visceral and poetic monologues capturing the voices of individuals caught in the convulsions of change.

Performed in English and Arabic
Duration: 65 minutes without interval



The Petrol Station 
Running time, 95 minutes
2017

A remote petrol station lying fallow on the periphery of an unnamed country in the Arabian Gulf sets the scene for a story in which a pair of half-brothers vie for the loyalty and favors of an aging, blind father.

Across the border, the neighboring country is writhing in the grips of a vicious civil war. When it becomes apparent that fuel from the station is being siphoned off to illegally supply militias across the border, the father orders the recovery of a missing station meter in an attempt to bring order back to an increasingly tense familial squabble. The arrival at the station of a female refugee and her injured rebel brother soon ignites the percolating differences between the brothers–– unearthing the tragic way in which the secrets, crimes and broken promises of one generation can make violent claims on the lives of the next.

Drawing inspiration from Sumerian myth, Palestinian refugee literature; American 1950’s urban legends of the Gas Station, Petrol Station portrays a modern dystopia where defunct ideologies, desperate migrants, zealous warlords and opportunistic traffickers vie for supremacy, tabloid-value-legitimacy and the unattainable body of a woman.

This production marks the first time that Al Bassam  has worked with a cast of actors who all identify as American: an experiment in allegory, further exploring the trans-cultural appropriation and questions of identity politic. 

Duration: 95 minutes, no intermission
Performed in English