Two lovers confront one another through two visions, two bodies, and two monologues on how their love has come to an end. Armed with words like the sharpest of knives and bearing each other’s heavy silences, the lovers negotiate their separation. In a moving and visceral play, we see a couple’s final confrontation as we are invited to observe what happens in Clôture de l’amour, the end of love.
With D-CAF fast approaching, director, Pascal Rambert, and costars, Mohamed Hatem and Hadeel Adel, discuss the glistening experience…
What pulled you the most towards the project?
Mohamed Hatem: It was the idea for me. The idea of the project was smart and different to me. The best thing about it is that you feel like it’s something very personal, something intimate. The story is that of two lovers that have children together, but are pulled apart through time. The play shows us the moment when they decide to leave each other. That moment is a very real one that most of us have experienced in one way or another. The performance zooms into that moment. That, for me, was very significant. What’s more, I truly think that working with Pascal is a wonderful experience for any actor. It’s a very good opportunity to work with a great director who’s written and directed plays in France and took them with him all over the world.
You’ve done the play in more than 10 different languages thus far, what can people expect from the Arabic version?
Pascal Rambert: I think audiences can expect something different from what they usually see. It’s a very contemporary way of doing theater. The play tells something universal: the desire and the loss, that crave when love disappears.
This will be the first time that it’s adapted to Arabic. Do you guys feel any pressure?
Hatem: I personally see that as a good thing. I’m a part of a project that’s been adapted in many different languages. I find that very inspiring: to feel that you’re part of something that’s very big and global. There’s a pressure element for sure, but at the end of the day, that’s what we do, what we enjoy. It’s hard, but very enjoyable all the same.
Do you plan on drawing inspirations from the actors of other adaptations?
Hadeel Adel: I personally didn’t feel like I wanted to see the performance before I started rehearsing. I was afraid of being consciously or subconsciously influenced since I wanted to approach the play with an open mind. I really wanted to do it my way. Pascal was very understanding to tell the truth. He left us with complete freedom of choice.
Rambert: I knew I wanted to give to actors a very large possibility of work since I consider them co-authors of the work.
Do you feel that your preparation would’ve been different if the play was a standalone and not part of a festival?
Hatem: I personally feel that the situation would’ve been a lot more relaxed without a festival. We would have had more time for rehearsals and for us generally. The play isn’t easy at all. It needs you to be working none-stop for a minimum of three months. That’s why I think it would’ve been easier without D-CAF.
Adel: The difficulty was really being tied to a nonnegotiable timeline, especially since the play, in my opinion, might be one of the most challenging things that we do in our lifetimes on both a personal and a professional level. The play is so powerful that you can’t help but be moved by it. The first time we sat with Pascal, I remember Hatem telling me “this is not just a play; this is our lifetime’s biggest achievement.” That’s why I felt like it was really personal as you not only had to prepare for the challenging work schedule, but also had to channel a deeply personal place to do the characters justice. It’s really a journey. It’s beautiful.
What’s the thing that you love the most about theater?
Rambert: I do theater in order to build frames inside actors that allow them to find their own freedoms before transferring the same feeling to the audience too.
Adel: No matter what we try to tell you, we won’t be able to deliver the feeling that we have on the stage. It’s something very personal that really can’t be put into words. What I could safely say is that it really helps me find out a lot of things about myself. It’s so unpredictable, and anything could really happen. You feel really open and naked to the entire world. It’s something truly incredible. We’re really luck to be able to do it. I honestly say that everyone should do theater, not just professional actors. It really is that inspiring.
Hatem: The stage also allows you to share a specific experience with a different audience every night. You perform differently every day. So really, you get to feel a new experience every day. The biggest advantage in theater is that the experience that a spectator feels at the very second of the performance is something that he’ll remember for his entire life. It’s not like film where you get to relive the moments more than once over different viewings. The moment in theater is very real, and is exactly why we do what we do. It’s truly unforgettable.