Work in progress | Jerusalem


Scarlet Tummers was met Atta Nasser in het najaar van 2020 bij ZUIDPOOL met ondersteuning van tg STAN in residentie. Met Jeruzalem als vertrekpunt hebben ze zich vooral heel veel vragen gesteld.

‘Wat geloven we? Wat hebben we geloofd? Wat willen we geloven?’

Dit voorjaar zullen ze vanop afstand proberen uit het gecreëerde materiaal een script te distilleren. Om hopelijk in mei een aantal pogingen te kunnen doen om die tekst te spelen voor een publiek.

Het creëren van het script zullen ze met jullie delen. Omdat dit een proces is, waar zij ook het resultaat nog niet van kennen, is het mogelijk dat jullie 10 versies van een eerste scène te lezen zullen krijgen. Of een opzet van een vertelstructuur, zonder dat elk element daarvan al is ingevuld. Of dat ze net voor het einde er toch voor kiezen om weer van voren af aan te beginnen.

Het is ook zeer goed mogelijk dat dit script op geen enkele manier te herkennen zal zijn in dat wat ze uiteindelijk zullen spelen.

Één dingen weten ze wel zeker: de titel.




Scarlet’s e-mail to Atta

Hey Atta!

Here is a proposal for the first two scenes.
Doubts that I had, was if we should put more clearly on the table what the starting point for the show is. 
Now I left it a bit open.

Also now, I started at the beginning.
We could question of course, if the beginning should be the beginning.
Maybe we should begin at the end.
Or in the middle.
But for now, we have to begin somewhere.


Scene 1

Why do I find it more and more difficult these days to discover something beautiful?

What’s your name?
Is your mother still alive?
Where exactly were you born?
Which direction did your room face?
Did the sun shine in during the morning or afternoon?
What did you see when you looked out of the window?*

Do you want to disappear?
Do you want to tell me something?
Should they know something?
What should they know?
Should I tell them?

This morning I was bringing my children to school
We get out of the metro
At Sint-Katelijne
Where their school is
We walk up the stairs
From the metro station
We walk the two minutes to their school
And in that street
I saw a woman
With long hair
And she had a Palestinian scarf
You know
This black and white one
And I was walking with Moon and Leo
My children
And she passed by me
I did not even look
And I said
Out loud
Viva Palestine!
And she looked back to me
And she was so happy
She said: Yes! Viva Palestine!
And I said: They are also Palestinian.
About Moon and Leo.
And she said: Yes?
And she started laughing and she was so happy and I was so happy
And Moon and Leo immediately
They are four years old
They told me: Babba, we zijn Palestinian, Brussels, Anderlecht, Poperingen and Sint-Katelijne
Because they think Anderlecht and Sint-Katelijne and Poperingen are all countries
Wij zijn vijf dingen!
And I said: Yes, you are more than five things
I was so happy to see my children
4 years old 
That they are aware that they are not just one thing
And I was so happy
And I said: Yes! Sah! Sah! 
That means: het is waar 
Het is waar
Sah! Masboud!
I was so happy
And Moon and Leo
They started speaking with each other
Counting on their fingers
We are more than one thing
Een, twee, drie, vier, vijf!

I imagine us standing in the space
I don’t imagine much more in the space
Maybe a few objects
But not so present yet
I imagine us wearing clothes
Simple clothes
I imagine you without shoes
I imagine that there is no theatrical light
There is audience
I imagine
And they’re sitting in the same light
It is not a normal show
It’s more like a meeting
Maybe we should ask them questions?

What is a normal show?


I imagine this show to be transparent
Less theatrical
More like a conversation

Scene 2

I don’t believe so much
But sometimes automatically I say it
Says the paragraph of the Sura ‘the cow’
Did I say it?
Sometimes I say
I hope to have a good morning 
And then I mention God
It’s in the system
I open my eyes 
And I say it

Did you do Ramadan?
Did you pray five times a day?
Did you go to Mecca?
Did you help the poor?
You did not say anything bad about anyone?
We have these five duties.
Then you go to heaven.

I don’t pray 
I don’t believe

Did you work?
Did you take care of your family?
You didn’t steal?
You didn’t hurt people?


My father was a Catholic

We never went to church
He never prayed
He never spoke about belief
And then later I found out that in the weeks before his death he did the ‘zalving’
I don’t know the word in English
I had to look it up to see what it means exactly.
The priest puts holy oil on your forehead and on your hands and says:

Moge onze Heer Jezus Christus door deze heilige zalving en door Zijn liefdevolle barmhartigheid u bijstaan met de genade van Zijn Heilige Geest
Moge Hij u van zonden bevrijden, u heil brengen en verlichting geven

I just thought it is so funny that apparently, in the end, he was believing in heaven
And that he wanted guidance on his way
I can understand that he was afraid
Of dying
Maybe he was also believing in heaven all of his life
And I just didn’t know
We never talked about it
I don’t know
I just think it is funny that people can live their lives
- eat meat, smoke cigars, play golf on golf courts, drive cars - 
and then in the end when death comes along
all of a sudden, they feel the need to have a priest put oil on your head
All of a sudden, they need this frame

Atta’s e-mail to Scarlet

It is very nice 
It is like an introduction of who we are ( the first scene and the second ) 

We know that I am Palestinian 
We know that you are Belgian 
I have two children
And we are struggling with believes 
And we are sharing something with the audience 

So, it is concrete 
Maybe too concrete 
But it is good that it is too concrete for now 
Because we need this concrete thing

And I think between scene one or two there should be something without text 
An image
Or a dance 
Or a video 
Or music 
Or taping Jerusalem on the ground 
I don’t know 
We will find it 

It feels good 

Great Habibti 

I think after we have the first draft ready 
We can eliminate things 
But this is for later 
And make it more abstract with some very very concrete things  
But this is also for later 

Love love 

* Uit: Voyage to the Sonorous Land or The Art of Asking & The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, Peter Handke, vert. Gitta Honegger, 1996