Why "Beirut Wedding"?
The most consistent question we get is “What does the name mean? Where does it come from? What is a Beirut Wedding?” Well, years ago, I saw a photograph of a man and a woman who had just gotten married, the man was still in his tuxedo, the woman in her wedding gown. They were walking through the bombed out streets of Beirut, Lebanon, during the Lebanese civil war in the eighties. The caption to the photograph said that the woman was Muslim and the man was Christian. Looking at it, I thought to myself, “Whatever this picture is saying, that is what I want to say with my art. That is what I aspire to.”
Years later we found out that during that war, there was a movement by some of the young people in Beirut, to deliberately marry across religious lines to protest the war. For all the times that human beings can be absolutely reprehensible, other times they can also be amazing. For us, this made the name even more inspirational, more of goal to be reached for. A wedding, after all, is a ceremony, a ritual. So is theatre. At the wedding, a story is told about people coming together on a larger scale, a family or families, maybe an entire community and on an individual scale, two people in love. Often times the wedding is a religious ritual, joining the two people in a union with or under their god.
Theatre, for the vast majority of its history, has always been closely associated with the god or gods of whatever land it was being performed in. In some places, an actor putting on a mask was an act of actual transformation, of transition, from one plane to another; a god now walked the earth. In other places, actors were burned at the stake, so profound were the truths they laid bare. In every corner of the globe since before recorded history, the ritual of theatre, this place where people come together to hear their stories told, has existed and more often than not, it’s been a sacred space. This is our history, our tradition, the path on which we walk. It is up to The Beirut Wedding World Theatre Project to live up to this awesome responsibility.