In Performance: Rabih Mroué/Riding on a Cloud

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Rabih Mrouré/Riding on a Cloud
Photo by Joe Namy

Using recorded voice and video mixed with live performance, Riding on a Cloud paints a documentary picture of Yassar Mrouré’s life after the Lebanese civil war. With a stack of tapes and videos before him, performer Yassar Mrouré tells us, “This is my real story, yet these are not my thoughts. These thoughts are mine, yet this is not my real story.” From there, artifacts such as a kindergarten transcript, a family photo, and striking and imaginative videos created by Yassar over a period of twenty years bring to light pieces of his story. His brother, director/writer Rabh Mroué has selected the pieces on display, which Yassar notes provide a different perspective on his story than the selection Yassar himself might have chosen. There’s a hand splayed out on a wooden board, a bust of Mayakovski, undulating images of civilians fleeing gunfire. After being shot in the head by a sniper at age 17, Yassar began to have trouble with representation, unable to recognize a photograph of a pencil even when next to the pencil itself. By creating a representation of himself on stage, he provides a living example of truth and fiction intermingling: the real person and the character. The poetic visuals and dream-like pace of the performance leave room for the audience to decode resonances of their own in the fractured mosaic.

Riding on a Cloud is part of the 2016 Out There Festival at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. The Out There Festival runs through January 30th.

Writer and Director: Rabih Mroué in collaboration with Sarmad Louis
Performer: Yassar Mroué


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©2016 Contemporary Performance

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