Men In The Sun

The desert is stretching endlessly to the horizon, glowing grey and yellow in the blistering heat . The air is filled withe dust . In the midst of this scenery a truck is rumbling on the bumpy desert road, carrying its four passengers towards an uncertain destiny .
It does not take a lot of imagination to evoke this image in one's head, even though the desert is only a stage covered withe sand and the jolting truck a group of people held together by a rope, running and jumping on a circular path brushed on the sandy floor .
The fatal journey under the desert sun is one well know in Arab literature; in 1962 the famous Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani published his short story "Men in the sun" telling the story of three Palestinian refugees who leave their miserable lives in Lebanon to search for work in prosperous Kuwait . their personal backgrounds and ages differ ( each one represents a generation of the Palestinian society ) but they are United by the same traumatic experiences and the common desire to find a way out of hardship and poverty . In Bagdad they make a deal withe the driver Abul Khaizuran who promises to smuggle them for little money through the south  Iraqi desert in his truck . To cross the checkpoint the three men have to hide in an empty water tank on top of the truck which -over heats in the stifling mid-day heat- which in turn causes their tragic death .

The storyline is set in the 1950s, but in the Palestinian collective memory the fate of these three men is still painfully present and until today symbolic for our suffering", says theater director Bashar Murkus . For the last three months he and a group of seven senior students of the (Theater Academy) have been working on a production of Kanafani's "Men in the sun" . The play will premiere in september in Al Kasaba Theater .
"For me it was really important, that the actors identified withe the characters they were playing and that they connected withe the play"," says Murkus. "This is why we didn't work withe an already existing script but developed the ideas and dialogues by ourselves . It was very dynamic process and not only the characters developed but also the actors themselves."
One of the genial outcomes of this creative process was the decision to use as little sage props as possible. Instead of pushing a real truck over the stage the vehicle is represented by the actors . Also furniture, like chairs and tables, are "made" of human bodies . Besides the aesthetic reasons there is a deeper meaning behind this decision .
"Men in the sun" is a story about humiliation and dependency- not only in Palestine everywhere in the world . When you are in a desperate situation you are dependent on other people. You can't make choices, you have to take what is offered to you. You may be used as a chair. And in the end you may even become this chair; will-less and powerless", explains Murkus.
It is also a warning they want to forward: a warning against self-abandonment expressed by Abol Khaizurans final exclamation: "Why didn't you knock against the tank? Why didn't you say that you are dying? "