Lisson Gallery

Wael Shawky's 'The Song of Roland: The Arabic Version' to be performed at the Festival de Marseille

21 June 2019

A theatre performance piece devised by Wael Shawky, The Song of Roland: The Arabic Version, will be presented as part of the Festival de Marseille on the evenings of Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 June, at the Fort Saint-Jean, Mucem Museum. Set against a backdrop designed by Shawky, the hour-long piece combines percussion and informal choreography with performances by more than 20 singers and musicians in the classical Arabic ‘fidjeri’ style, created more than 800 years ago by fishermen in the Arabian Gulf. A translation of the French epic poem Le Chanson de Roland - in which Emperor Charlemagne’s nephew, Roland, is commended for his heroic battle against the ‘Saracens’ (a term used to describe Muslim Arabs) - ‘The Song of Roland’ continues Shawky’s interrogations of historical narratives, and notions of national, religious and artistic identity. The piece was first performed at the Theater Der Welt in Hamburg in 2017, and initiated a series of works by Shawky exploring oil discovery in the Gulf.

The performances will take place at 10pm on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 June. Tickets can be purchased on the Festival de Marseille website.

Image: Wael Shawky, The Song of Roland: The Arabic Version (2017), Performance view at Kampnagel, Theater der Welt, Hamburg © Wael Shawky. Photography
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