About the performance
This is not a story about politics. It is a story of a young boy named Mohammed and of how he, together with his parents, came to be amongst us. In the performance, a husband and a wife, parents of a boy named Mohammed, stand in front of a school class asking the pupils to accept their son as he is – with his culture, habits and customs. Through their telling, a picture is being revealed in a humane and shocking way of the people who, due to cruel and inhumane circumstances that people are facing in their countries, were forced to run from their hometown.
They found themselves in the environment they are not accustomed to, where people live in a way that they are not used to. Reza and Maryam have fled to us from Iran, for they didn’t want their son Mohammed to join the army at the age 11. They somehow retrieved fake identification papers and just before they were ready to escape, Reza landed in prison. Therefore Maryam and Mohammed fled first, in order to organize all the necessities for Reza’s prison break with the help of friends, from their new home. With the help of corrupt guards, the prison break was ultimately successful and while Reza is fleeing his country, he wounded up in a middle of a mine field …
The performance "Mohammed" shows the human face of the mass of the refugees that come amongst us in fear of their lives and in hopes of a better tomorrow. It points out how crucial it is to see and understand that even as refugees, they are people just like us, and that in spite of their different culture and habits they carry around in their hearts the hope of happiness, and the desire for freedom, human dignity and life. When, on a daily basis, we observe the news that inform us of the violence and the horror, changing the faces of these people into numbers, this human side of the story is lost and alienation sets in. The stories remain merely news on the TV. Behind these numbers however, there are people, faces, eyes filled with tears and hope. Reza, Maryam and Mohammed are the ones through whose eyes we will try to understand and feel the destiny of these numerous faces. Mohammed can be anyone from this mass of children that suffer deficiency and violence throughout the world
»Meeting with the story of Mahmud was an unusual theatrical journey into the world of Arabic culture, philosophy and mysticism. True stories of people, which are hidden behind numerous reports in which they are shown merely as numbers, are shocking. These people for us have no face. We are forgetting that they are people like us that only wish to live their lives normally, raise their children and earn money. Of these exact numerous faces we wanted to tell the story. And to this we gave an advantage in the staging itself. As unneeded we have given up all the unnecessary decoration … and so the story was born - set in almost vast space that with its simplicity gains the power of persuasiveness and shock. As I have already said in one of my previous thoughts of Mahmud: “This is not a story about politics or religion, it is a story about the people.” Peter Srpčič, director of the performance Mahmud and CEO of City theater Ptuj
»The main character Mahmud is reminding us, on the attitude we have toward refugees. Often we handle them in an authoritative way, especially on humanitarian and legal level. We put them into a role of helpless victims and the cultural context is not taken into consideration. We think only from our perspective, where we are certain that other nations have the same needs as we. We are patronizing them and in this way we are degrading them to a level of a child. We all are entitled to creating our own reality, safer and freer. We can live according to our free will. This is a universal right of all people, not just some people.«
Maja Lamberger Khatib, ph.D., professional co-worker for the questions of Arabic culture
About the director
Already as a child, Peter Srpčič showed extraordinary and unique potential. When his dreams of flying did not turn out as expected, he temporarily enrolled in a course in Marketing at the Faculty of Economics and Business. After having had passed the entrance exams at the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television in Ljubljana, he left the studies of economics unfinished and set himself on a journey into the world of professional theatre. As a consequence, the worlds of entrepreneurship and art are constantly intertwining in his career, and he says for himself, the work he is doing is tailored according to his taste. In this way, he is a unique compound of a business man and an artist. Since 2009, he has been successfully guiding the Ptuj CityTheatre, with occasionally placing himself on the other side of the stage and taking on a role of a director. He has worked on 20 different projects in various theatres and institutions in Slovenia, the majority of which he directed in his home theatre in Ptuj. He has tried and tested himself in other different artistic practices as well, such as at playwriting, translating, acting and dance as well as published a collection of poetry titled Cycle.