Solar Plexus (2006)
Brutal, provocative and beautiful about human struggle for a life worth living. Strong images, music and movement in a black humoristic story about racism and oppression set in a boxing ring. An actor and a street dancer portray characters from all layers of society in a continuous fight for survival where nothing is what it seams and the circumstances keep changing. The images are inspired by the segregated suburbs of the western world and the contradictory street life of the city Cairo.
On stage Egyptian award winning actor and storyteller Ramadan Khater, member of Egypt’s most famous independent group El Warsha and artistic leader of independent group Beni Mazar and Phax Ahamada, street dancer with international career and world unique dance technique, also working as an actor.
Solar Plexus is a Swedish-Egyptian co production and a unique cooperation between Studio Oscuro and Swedish independent group Teater Trixter and Egyptian organizations Studio Emad Eddin, Cairo and I-ACT, Alexandria. Solar Plexus was conceived during open rehearsals at Studio Emad Eddin and at the Creative Forum for Independent Theatre Groups, arranged by I-ACT at Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Solar Plexus opened the 13th of October 2006 at Teater Trixter, Gothenburg
On stage : Phax Ahamada and Ramadan Khater
Script, direction, set and light design: Charlie Åström
Music: Björn Knutsson
Make up design: Gunnar Lundgren
Costume design, props and production Studio Oscuro: Christine Åström
Director´s assistant, production Egypt, light and sound technique: Saad Samir
Production Teater Trixter: Inga-Bodil Hermansson, Beatrice Berggren
Photo and graphic design: Mattias Dellmo
“Charlie Åström creates pieta-like images of these serene moments when Khater is dabbing Ahamada’s bald boxing skull: it is picturesque master pieces in chiaroscuro, ready to be hung at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam any day. But Åström’s images are not seeking effect. On the contrary they are effective for what he wants to tell: about our vain aspiration for omnipotence and immortality and our simultaneous desire for affection and symbiosis.” “The boxing ring, in one moment a dance floor for quiet waltz for the fighter and his second, transforms in the next into a piece of Mare Tranquillitatis on the moon where Neil Armstrong proudly takes his giant leap for mankind. Macro cosmos and micro cosmos are conjoined and in Solar Plexus the boxer – and we- physically acknowledges the connection. Björn Knutsson has made the extraordinary music to the performance: heavy big beat during the rounds, airy arias in the corner. It is so elaborate and well choreographed that even the flowers landing in the hands of the actors and production team at the end seams to be danced in place by Trixter’s flower girls. Charlie Åström and Theatre Trixter have done it again.”
From a review by Kristjan Saag, GT, 2006-10-16.
“It is of course a visual artist that makes me see that boxing isn’t only painful, but also can be painfully beautiful.” “The entire performance actually has something sacred about it, it is ritual and holy. I can only compare it to Eugenio Barbas’ world famous multi cultural total theatre, but Charlie Åström’s piece also has an expression completely of its own style that solely can be called admirably innovative. For once the sports fanatic and the artistic epicure can visit the theatre together and have a mutual gain of a wonderful scenic experience for all senses.”
From a review by Björn Gunnarsson, Hallands Nyheter, 2006-10-14.
“When it touches down as a striking punch in the pit of the stomach, I also realize that this visualized match between world religions and world politics, between continents and borderless cultural patterns, with immense poetic power has been procured centuries back in history. It is strong, painful, beautiful and provocative…”
From a review by Anders Thuresson, Göteborgs Fria Tidning, 2006-10-23.
“The scene shows something tender, mournful, loving in a credible and complex manner that maybe isn’t so common.” “These simple scenes and images contain both human warmth and everyday caring, religious archetypes and dimensions like those you can find in the relationship between a nation and its soldiers.”
From a review by Astrid von Rosen,Göteborgs Posten 2006-10-15.
“Voices from different parts of the world confront and intertwine to an imaginative and beautiful artistic entity with strong political undertones.”
From a review by Birgitta Johansson, Svenska Dagbladet, 2006-10-27
11th Internationaal Mime Square Festival, Aarschot, Belgium 11-14 of October 2007
Mimesquare Festival became a heartfelt reunion between the Swedish and Egyptian participants in the Solar Plexus project. Solar Plexus decorates the official festival poster and we give two full up and belauded perfomances in an airy cathedral. We visit inspiring performances from Argentina, Spain and Belgium and we enjoy the fresh air and sunny weather of the country side while planning for upcoming collaborations. Phax Ahamada also gives a highly appreciated street show in the festival bar.
Studio Oscuro is also planning new projects with the festival general Marc Crauwels.
The guest performances were funded by Sida and Dramatiska Institutet and Petra och Karl Erik Hedborgs Stiftelse.
Studio Oscuro wants to send a special thanks to the technical and administrative staff of the festival for their fantastic attitude and professionalism and not to forget our wonderful host families.
Egypt Tour the 1st – 10th of February 2007
The 1st of February, Alexandria
Studio Oscuro opens the international theatre festival Creative Forum for Independent Theatre Groups at Bibliotheca Alexandrina with a highly appreciated performance.
The 5th of february, El Minia
Two well-attended Solar Plexus performances at the Jesuit’s and Brother’s Association at El Minia. In the audience were among others children and disabled people participating in education programmes held by the Jesuits.
The 8th and 9th of february, Cairo
Finally two performances at Cairo’s biggest culture centre, El Sawy Culture Wheel. We were also visited by the Swedish Embassy.
The Solar Plexus Egypt Tour was funded by: The Swedish Institute and The Arts Grants Committee of Sweden.
Solar Plexus at El Genaina, Cairo The 20th of April 2007
Just a few months after the Egypt Tour Solar Plexus returns to Egypt on request for two additional performances at the out door stage El Genaina in Al Azhar Park, Cairo. Charlie Åström and Phax Ahamada also hold workshops in connection with the performances.
The guest performances were funded by: SIDA and The Dramatic Institute.