Bagdad (Enkidu Khaled & Chris Keulemans)

Theatre maker Enkidu Khaled was born in Baghdad in 1985, during the war between Iraq and Iran. He started out as a filmmaker. The camera protected him from the insanity of the violence. In 2007, he fled his city.
Writer and journalist Chris Keulemans grew up in Baghdad in the sixties, due to his father’s work. He deciphered the cuneiform script in the oldest library in the world, learned how to swim at the chique Al-Wiyah Club and wandered about with the bedouin kids in the neighborhood.

Keulemans and Khaled share their place of birth, but there is a world of difference. Last year, they returned to Baghdad for the first time and came back with a reverse Sheherazade: as long as the killer continues to tell stories, the listener stays alive.

In this documentary theater performance the two men exchange images and experiences: both shootings and kidnappings in the chaotic Baghdad of 2005, as well as an idyllic Easter Sunday in 1967 on the green lawn in front of the Anglican church. While recounting, they offer two totally different perspectives on a city that gradually bleeds out.

Are they telling the truth? Have they kept their memories intact or are they poisoned by the harsh atrocities? Baghdad is a show about boys who chase butterflies and men who murder, about the partylights on the riverboats in the Tigris and a crazy kidnapping in the Baghdad of today, about pain and paradise.

created and performed by Chris Keulemans, Enkidu Khaled video Dhyaa Joda soundscape and live music Ata Güner set design Hussein Shabeeb installation Moayed Joda dramaturgy Lara Staal artistic advisor Joachim Robbrecht productie Jamaa el Irakya, Frascati Producties, Monty

In this way they succeed in creating an exciting, sensory performance in which not only memories from their own lives have their place, but in which history is being written as well. (Moos Van den Broeck, Theaterkrant)
That way the two makers create a very fragmented portrait of Bagdad – consciously, because they are fully aware a city with this kind of history can't be told by using stereotypes (...) A very intriguing exercise that deserves all of your attention. *** (Ewoud Ceulemans, De Morgen)