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"Shahrazad in Baabda" Prisoners sharing their past and present || Article|| Newspapers (Arabic)


“Scheherazade in Baabda” by Zeina Daccache, founder of Catharsis: Lebanese Center for Drama Therapy, will open in Baabda prison Thursday for 12 performances. The project – funded by the Swiss-based Drosos Foundation – is the next step for the director of “12 Angry Lebanese,” the groundbreaking drama therapy project produced in Roumieh prison in 2009.
Built originally to accommodate 30 inmates, Baabda prison now holds around 60 to 70 women at any time in cramped quarters. Some are imprisoned for murder, many for drug-related crimes and robbery, and many still await sentencing.
The play is a chance for the women involved to share their stories and stand up to the judgment they once feared from society, Daccache explains. Comprised mostly of monologues, the actors recount their own pasts while other scenes are an amalgamation of many women’s stories, some of whom participated in the therapy but declined to be a part of the play. As such, we have no way of knowing who is telling their own story, highlighting the common experiences that led the women to Baabda.
“This play has liberated me from things hidden inside that I couldn’t say. I used to be afraid to talk about them and ashamed. Whether it is nice or not to talk about, I’m doing something to tell others so no man will ever beat a woman, even my own son,” says one of the actors, who is accused of murder and has spent 14 years in Baabda.

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