Skype meets theater in Syria Romeo and Juliet

By Kamal Taha ,AFP

AMMAN, Jordan — Mixing traditional theater with modern technology, a new Syrian version of Shakespeare’s ��Romeo and Juliet�� is offering a unique twist on the classic love story. Romeo is a young Syrian refugee in Jordan, and his beloved is trapped in the region of Homs �X their only means of communication through Skype and other online tools. Playing out on the rooftop of a makeshift hospital for Syrian refugees in the Jordanian capital Amman, the new production aims to highlight the plight of those who have escaped Syria’s devastating civil war �X and those left behind. ��We wanted, through this unique work, to draw attention to the areas under siege by the regime in Syria after the failure of humanitarian organizations to send food, water and medicine there,�� said the play’s director, acclaimed Syrian actor Nawar Bulbul. ��We also wanted to send a message to the world that the besieged people are not terrorists but children threatened by shelling, death and destruction.�� The play’s Romeo is Ibrahim, a 12-year-old who lost his mother and three of his siblings in regime shelling of Damascus last year. Three operations to his right leg saved it from amputation, but the road to recovery is long and he requires two more operations. Its Juliet is a 14-year-old girl cut off from help and her extended family �X one of what the U.N. says is some 440,000 civilians trapped in Syrian conflict zones without access to relief efforts. Juliet’s identity and exact location are kept secret, and she wears a veil throughout the performance. As the audience watches, their love story unfolds with Ibrahim sitting before a video feed projected on a white canvas.