—“This isn’t a poem, it’s a turbulent testimony”. That’s how North American curator and writer André Lepecki describes Borborygmus. The reason is its in-depth testimony, with the three performers reciting texts written as a result of their own experiences as Lebanese citizens in the midst of the country’s civil war (between 1975 and 1990). In the play, they talk about both national losses - those who have died or were murdered during the conflict - and personal ones: the three of them are all around 50 years old and take to the stage to mourn what they can no longer do.
—It’s unique staging includes texts, music and images that can all be interpreted in multiple ways, revealing their connections to the play’s name. “The stomach’s the organ that reveals all the incontrollable things that happen to our body (…) You can try and hide or control things or pretend you’re controlling the body, but the stomach won’t allow it”, explains Mroué in an interview with the Walker Art Center.
—The duo made up of Rabih Mroué and Lina Majdalanie is one of the most prolific groups in new Lebanese theater. Coming from a generation whose infancy and adolescence was spent in the middle of a civil war, one of the main themes running through their work is the conflict in the Middle East. Explored through stories that, as they themselves say, are somewhere between fact and fiction, it’s the audience that has to draw their own conclusions.
—The Lebanese Civil War: This conflict took place between 1975 and 1990 because of the dispute for political power between Muslims (mainly Palestinians), Jews (Israelis) and Christians, with the latter being most represented in government until then.
—La forza del destino: This is an opera by Giuseppe Verdi premiered in 1862, whose opening accompanies one of the acts of Borborygmus. For years, is was considered ‘cursed’, because every time it was performed, something terrible happened at the theater where it was being put on. That’s why many companies took it out of their repertory.
—Performance: An avant-garde art form in which the play’s medium is the artist’s body and the play itself is made up of the actions this carries out, normally combined with multiple other elements such as the visual arts, music, dance and theater. It’s one of the art forms that transformed art in the middle of the twentieth century.
—Documentary theater: This concept goes back to the second half of the twentieth century, when there was an interest in bringing political and historical issues to the stage, thus blurring the lines between fiction and reality. This kind of theater not only uses documents but also collects testimonies, presenting not only the facts themselves but also a more intimate, touching and personal side to the story.