The iraqi dramatist gives a voice to women.
Muhaned Al Hadi studied at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad before teaching there from 1993-1997. He has written and directed many works including Hotspot in Baghdad, Camp, Couvre-feu, Soixante-dix and Seule dans la ville. He has received numerous awards, including for best actor at the National Awards for young actors in Baghdad in 1999, best performance at the Armature Carthage Theatre Days in Tunisia in 2007 and the Jordan Theatre Festival in 2010, best director at the Baghdad International Theatre Festival in 2013, and best text for Couvre-feu at the Alef International Festival in Iran in 2018.
“As in my previous piece, Almas, I wanted to write about the extreme destitution of women faced with the violence of an arbitrary tradition which denies them the right to self-determination. Rakstan is a young woman of twenty-five. Kidnapped and raped by a gang of men, she is finally released for a ransom. She is then faced with a second ordeal as she is forced to flee from her father and brothers, who would rather kill her than be tarnished with what they judge to be her ‘dishonour’. She attempts to escape this unjust masculine culture and goes into exile in Europe. She believes she has cheated death and won her freedom, but her past catches up with her…”
The piece Almas examines the ill-treatment of Yazidi women, and was written at La Chartreuse de Villeneuve lez Avignon, France, during Muhaned Al Hadi’s first residency there in 2018. It was selected by students at the Lyon Conservatoire for a staged reading during the festival Écrits à Vif at the Élysée Theatre in 2019, and was among the jury’s commended texts at the 2019 Journées de Lyon des Auteurs de Théâtre.
Muhaned Al Hadi took part in two residencies in 2019 at La Chartreuse’s National Centre for Scriptwriting. These residencies enabled him to spend tiime on his theatrical works and to share his experiences during the Samedis de la Chartreuse. In 2020, he returns to La Chartreuse once more.