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Dahlia Hage 24 Feb 2016

3 Generations React To Ziad Rahbani’s ‘Bel Nesbe La Boukra Chou’

When someone as widely celebrated as Ziad Rahbani releases never before seen footage of his play, it is difficult to ignore the question of how relevant his work still is and what it means to generations who didn’t necessarily grow up around it.

We asked different generations their thoughts on the new release, mainly: if they enjoyed the play, how much they knew about Ziad Rahbani’s work before watching, and if they thought it was important for the footage to be released at this modern time.

Nour and Jihad, 21 & 30

As a big fans of Ziad Rahbani, even having memorized his plays by heart, siblings Nour and Jihad went to watch the new release out of curiosity. Nour loved the play and thought it made perfect sense. She was impressed by Ziad’s ability to see things and how everything still makes sense now.

Jihad also liked the play but would have preferred not to see it as it distorted the image he had of the different characters. He wanted the play to remain in his thoughts the way he pictured it. On the other hand, he was glad it was released as it was a wake up call for everyone. Jihad specifically mentioned that Ziad’s famous sayings at the beginning of the release were especially powerful in sending a message to the audience.

Dima, 24

“I didn’t know much about Ziad El Rahbani…I wasn’t a big fan before I saw this, but my dad told me the entire story. I understand that it was hard just having one job in Lebanon back then, people would get multiple jobs just to gain some stability and support their family. It’s just the frustration of the middle to low income class trying to make it in the world. It’s kind of the same thing now, isn’t it?

But, I thought it was genius, I laughed a lot. The English/ French/ Arabic aspect of it was interesting. My dad told me the story and that they believed Ziad has visions of the future. He worked with Ziad for a while and told me he was insane, he wouldn’t remember someone he met yesterday, it was so weird. He said that every play he wrote was beautiful, he was more of a composer than a playwright. Every play that he wrote kind of turned into some kind of reality after. For example, he wrote one play about people invading in a hotel and it actually came true and started a revolution after.”

Joseph, 60

“The play was very good. I listened to it on cassette and then CD repeatedly and for a long time. It draws a perfect picture about the Lebanese individual and the Lebanese society. That picture stood the test of time. There is not a single day that passes without encountering a scenario or a situation that he addressed is his plays in a funny way.

People refer to passages of his plays to describe current events. There is a cult of younger generation (Jad Daniel for example) that memorized all his plays. I am familiar with all his theater work. I understand the economics behind the release and I enjoyed seeing it in a movie theater. My preference, however, was a video release. It would have been more appropriate for theater work.”

What did you think about Rahbani’s play?