Beirut Adrenaline – Belvoir St theatre

A civil war with a touch of humour and romance
By Zeina Issa

 

Beirut Adrenaline opened this last Thursday, 28th of July at The Belvoir St Theatre. Originally written in French by playwrights Hala Ghosn and Jalie Barcilon, it is now showing for the first time in English, after it had received rave reviews in both France and Lebanon. Directed by Anna Jahjah and produced by Théâtre Excentrique, Beirut Adrenaline leaves you pondering the many facets of human behaviour. 

I grew up in Lebanon during the civil war, therefore it was natural for the play to evoke personal flashbacks of both troublesome times and warm memories. The play did however allow me to detach from my own personal experience, and delve into the emotions and reactions of the many characters depicted in the play. Rima, played by Naveen Hanna strives to capture a glimpse of happiness despite the numerous miserable scenarios, in an attempt to defy the desperate status quo. For Tante Najat to cope is to preserve the past and ignore the present. 
Beirut Adrenaline follows the story of a Lebanese family split up between Paris and Beirut, Ziad and younger sister Mona are rebuilding a new life in Paris, whilst their brother Marwan is trying to survive the daily struggles of a war-torn Beirut. The scenes alternate between the two cities, an apartment in Paris and the two balconies in Beirut where conversations flow between Marwan and his new neighbours, after he was forced to relocate with his aunt. 
As the play unfolds we are introduced slowly to the fears, worries, despair and the shift in powers which stem from conflict and lawlessness, along with the minor daily disruptions and annoyances. Living in Australia away from war, sheltered from the chaos and tragedy that it creates, Beirut Adrenaline offers an interesting insight into how society reacts when it faces a sudden, forced and unwelcomed life change. The play manages to address this heavy subject with a touch of humour and even romance.

Beirut Adrenaline features Danielle Dona, Naveen Hanna, Mansoor Noor, Eli Saad, Sana’a Shaik and Delphine Vuagnoux.
Photography: Emma Lois
Tickets $32 — $45
To book: 
belvoir.com.au/events/beirut-adrenaline
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