SAF 2005 - The Sulayman Al-Bassam Theatre Company


Singapore Arts Festival 2005


~ The Season of Brilliance ~


26 May – 26 June





The Sulayman Al-Bassam Theatre Company (Kuwait)


 Date : 10 & 11 June
 Time : 8pm
 Venue : Victoria Theatre
 Duration : 90 (no intermission)


Performed in Arabic with English surtitles


Post-show Dialogue with Sulayman Al-Bassam on 10 June


Festival Conversation with Sulayman Al-Bassam on 11 June at Victoria Theatre Terrace, 4pm – 5pm


Advisory: Please note that blanks will be fired in the performance.


“The Al-Hamlet Summit is about as original and pulse-quickeningly topical a take on the Bard as you wish.” - The Times, UK


“…daringly transposes Shakespeare’s classic play to a modern Middle Eastern setting” - The Daily Star, UK


Adapted from Shakespeare’s classic play Hamlet, The Al-Hamlet Summit is a daring new play by Anglo-Kuwaiti writer and director Sulayman Al-Bassam. Retaining the play’s original premise, Al-Hamlet is underscored with an intriguing timeliness, through its bold transposition from the Shakespearean tragedy to the current Middle Eastern setting.


Al-Hamlet is set in the official assembly of an unnamed modern Middle Eastern state. Strong lights are cast over six desks with nameplates that identify a familiar bunch of characters from the original play. Moving along with a hypnotic force, the characters speak a fresh, heightened language, in which Shakespeare’s text has been ditched in favour of a seductive blend of pointed rhetoric and feverish poetry.


Sulayman’s Arabic-language version of Hamlet brings together a multi-national cast from across the Arab world including Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, as well as artistes from the United Kingdom. It seeks to probe a step further into the troubled heart of the modern day Middle East. The style of writing combines aspects of the Arab oral poetry tradition with the rhetoric of modern-day politics, while boasting a terrifically atmospheric live soundtrack and effective use of video back-projections.


A panoramic indictment of states throughout the Iraqi region, Al-Hamlet presents a composite of many Arab concerns that affect peoples from the Arabian Gulf to the Atlantic and beyond. Westernized autocrats, religious fundamentalists, an arms dealer and a suicide bomber all make their dramatic entrances and exits count, creating splendid moments of riveting interplay.


Al-Hamlet was first performed in English as part of the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival in August 2002. It was awarded a prestigious Fringe First Award for excellence and innovation in writing and directing. The work was subsequently presented at the 14th Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theatre, in September 2002, where it won Best Performance and Best Director Awards.


On 11 June, 4pm to 5pm, at the Victoria Theatre Terrace, join director Sulayman Al-Bassam for a thought provoking session on his experience and challenges of making theatre. The talk is open to the public and admission is free.


For more information, please refer to the attached annexes:

 Annexes  - Cast and List
  - Director's Note
  - Synopsis of Production
  - Profile of The Sulayman Al-Bassam Theatre Company and Sulayman Al-Bassam
  - Profile of Cast and Creative Team