– I have not seen any theatrical work in my entire life, and I do not know anything about the theatre
“Hekalo”, a new work by the Lebanese comedian Abbas Jaafar, who seeks to diversify between theatre, cinema and television, and his new play is a remarkable success in addition to his previous successes.
Jaafar spoke to “Al-Rai” about his new “Hekalo”, his preparations for it, and the echoes he had touched so far.
• How was the idea of the play born?
– There is a common friend between me and Yahya Jaber who said that he sees me in the theater, then the three of us met in a joint session and brought our points of view closer. Yahya Jaber told me, “You are still a soft dough that can be molded, and you have the talent and the will.” We agreed to present a good work that breaks the world, and this is what was achieved through the play “Hekalo”.
• Do you think that the “prestige” series distorted the image of the Baalbek region and its people?
Not at all, because the “prestige” series has nothing to do with the Baalbek region.
• But he symbolizes it?
The events of the series “Al-Hiba” can take place anywhere in Lebanon, in Baalbek, Sidon, Beirut and Tripoli.
• Is it possible to say that you became inclined to the theater more than others after you presented this work?
– No, but I just wanted to take an initiative towards Baalbek and prove that I represent well.
In the theater, I liked to communicate directly with people, to interact with me, to hear me, to believe me, and to provide them with valuable content, not joking or joking. The interaction was more than amazing when I was transitioning from comedy to drama.
• Did you take the initiative to improvise?
The improvisation started after the tenth show. And Yahya Jaber told me, “Don’t be afraid.” We only did one rehearsal for a two-hour play, and there is no experience like mine, neither in Lebanon nor in the Arab world, except that I am alone on stage.
• Rafiq Ali Ahmed presented a similar experience?
Was the show two hours long? Since everyone is talking about “Guinness”, I will apply for my name to enter the encyclopedia because I am the first artist to stand alone on the stage and present a two-hour show.
• Why did it take 8 whole months to prepare for the play?
– Because we were keen to be accurate in writing the story and to live it to the fullest, and then memorize, practice and present good and respectful content. Anyone can present a theatrical work, complete it within a week, and then display it.
• How do you feel about the first 5 minutes of the premiere?
– I was very nervous before the day of the performance because we did not conduct rehearsals and I did not know how long the play would be, and I “lost” some things because it was my first experience on stage. We did exercises at home, and when we did the rehearsal, I stopped in the middle of it and said that I could not continue. Yahya Jaber’s response was, “If you die, you want it to suffice.”
His insistence was in place, and indeed I got up and completed it with the presence of 5 people, then I went home and stayed up until five in the morning and repeated it 3 times. The next day, Yahya Jaber said to me, “Should we delay or continue?” I answered him, “We continue,” and he replied, “Can we show without rehearsal?” I said, “Yes,” and the result was better than I expected.
• How did you feel the love of the audience who came massively to watch the work?
– I am used to loving people and no one has ever told me that they have a problem with me.
Sometimes when there are negative comments on “Social Media”, people who wish to be in my place often stand behind them, and I understand this matter and do not stop at it or give it importance. During the show, people’s eyes spoke, and this means that their love increases with the days, beginning with “She AN” through “Celebrity Duets”, “House of All” and “Experience” and other works, and I did not change and proved from one work to another that I am capable To submit any work offered to me and to achieve any goal that interests me.
• Have you discovered the importance of the presence and balance between cinema, theater and television?
– The artist must fulfill the offer that he receives from whatever side, and if he is up to the responsibility, he guarantees its continuity, and if not, he leaves the field for others.
• There is no doubt that you are up to the responsibility?
I prefer to wait for people to judge my experience. I am thinking of presenting 100 performances of the play and showing it in various Lebanese regions, America, Europe and the Gulf. We have started accepting offers to participate in a number of festivals.
• Can your success in theater motivate you to focus on it in the future?
I won’t always be in theatre. Theater will be a “candy” in my artistic work, because there are other things I can do. The aim of the play was to introduce people to Baalbek, which they do not know anything about, and I introduced them to it, and how people deal with the state and the state’s view of us.
And if the play succeeds, it will have a second part, God willing, but I will not continue in the theatre.
• How do you talk about your cinematic experience and what did cinema give you?
– Cinema gave me sweet roles that I love, and I presented a successful project when I started in it.
At that time, the “Falcon” company had produced its first films with the artist Ziad Burji, and its second film was with me, which sold 150,000 tickets, which is a record for a comedian who plays the first cinematic championship in his artistic life. The situation was good in Lebanon and we were upset.
Although a large number of comedians made films, my film was the most successful among them. I succeeded in proving myself in all the fields in which I was present.
• What did TV give you?
– I succeeded in establishing myself on television as well, and I started with two seconds and reached the point of having my own reportage, and I was also offered to present a program.
And if I had not achieved success in television, I would not have been present in other fields.
During the coming period, I hope to become better and present works with content, because the works that leave an impact are the ones that carry a message, and my ambition is to present this type of work and not just to make people laugh.
• In your opinion, who is the best actor in Lebanon that you would like to be like?
It is too early for me to answer this question. My experience is accumulating and I hope to increase more with the days.
• Who were you influenced by from the artists?
– by myself.
• What do you think of artist George Khabbaz?
I haven’t seen any of his works.
I haven’t seen any theatrical work in my entire life and I don’t know anything about theatre, but I loved my experience and it has a very positive echo.
I know all the actors, but I haven’t seen their theatrical productions.