News Column

Play depicts end of the world

July 20, 2014

Mohammed Al A'Ali

THE end of the world will be played out in front of thousands of people in Bahrain next week.

A large audience is expected to turn out for the sequel of a popular all-Bahraini play about the apocalypse.

Safar (Journey) Part II is being staged by the Montadaroon Islamic Music Group at Adhari Park's Prestige Hall and seats for the first three nights on July 24, 25 and 26 have already sold out.

Demand is so great that people are even buying standing-only tickets, although seats are still available on July 27 and organisers have reserved the venue for a possible fifth night on July 28 depending on sales.

More than 3,000 people watched the first part of the operetta Safar over a three-day run last year.

The story is told in Arabic and follows people from different walks of life preparing for doomsday.

It was a hit thanks to its dramatic performances, music and innovative use of technology.

"We are bigger and better (this year) as we transformed into a theatrical force in the country with a team of actors, performers and crew that is all Bahraini," said executive producer and production manager Mohsin Al Saati.

"Our first experience, Safar I, was done on a BD8,000 budget, which has now almost doubled to BD15,000 as we work to present the public a new experience.

"It's a mixture of music, drama and pyrotechnics besides advanced black light theatre technology, which makes the venue dark and gives a glow to bright objects through the use of sensors.

"The stage will have new concept dÉcor, with a flowing river and real ice which are not CGI (computer-generated imagery), and that's something new in the region."

The sequel will see lead actors Jaffar Al Halwachi, Faisal Al Nashaba, Mohammed Mirza and Sayed Hussain Al Boori reprise their roles from the first instalment.

They will be joined by Jaber Al Nashaba, Mohammed Al Sairafi, Taha Safar and Salah Ghuloom, plus 10 child actors and a 20-member choir from the Montadaroon Islamic Music Group.

The second part in the story is written and directed by Mohammed Khodar, who was behind the first show last year.

Mr Al Saati said the story would pick up from where it left off, but was accessible for new audiences.

"What started as a step towards the journey is now the story of the path and fighting temptations," he said.

"This year we have introduced two new characters Satan and The Psychopath.

"It talks about how the main character played by Mr Al Halwachi loses sight of his blessing as a decent cobbler and starts challenging his destiny, with Satan encouraging him to be corrupt and cruel.

"In the first part he went on a journey to find salvation and now he is on a journey to shake off temptations."

He said there were also plans to take Safar II abroad with productions planned in Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia early next year.

Costumes are created by designer Mohammed Qambar, while dÉcor is by artist Salah Bushehri and make-up by Yaser Saif.

Tickets for the show cost BD5 for VIP, BD3 and BD2 and it starts at 9.30pm on each night.

For more information, contact Mr Al Saati on 33444331. For tickets, call 33773319 or 33884238.

For more stories covering arts and entertainment, please see HispanicBusiness' Arts & Entertainment Channel

Source: Gulf Daily News (Bahrain)

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