Jiran is a puppet and object theatre performance about the history of a neighborhood in Beirut that is approaching disappearance – the Vendôme Stairs in Mar Mikhael. Building on documentary work conducted by the Dar Onboz team at the request of Collectif Kahraba, the performance is made up of various languages: puppetry for adults, object manipulation theater, sound editing, and photography.
Jiran offers an insight into the collective memory of a neighborhood through the actual words of five of its inhabitants. The simple testimonies shared with the artists of Collectif Kahraba are a sign of a common social life, endangered by the metamorphoses and unplanned urbanization of Beirut.
The performance witnesses the rapid mutation of a city that constantly pushes location pins and redraws maps, and the trouble its residents have following the thread of its course. This performance is about a city, steeped in history, that no longer cares who its inhabitants are, that was suddenly rebuilt by foreign investment from the highest bidder, that defies the social fabrics that constitutes its culture and identity.
To have political sensibility is to have worry for the city. A city is men, women, and children, of all generations, that attempt to live together with respect for one another. Through the concerns that they express to each other, the testimonies of these five inhabitants of Mar Mikhael invite us to together reflect, as actors and audience, on our responsibility towards this city or any other city in the world. In a country in which political life has totally exploded, as is the case in Lebanon, the lowest common denominator of “political” life still remains our relationships to and our concern for the other, our neighbor.
Created in 2012 in Beirut during festival "Nehna Wel Amar Wel Jiran".