By: Fawzi Y. Barghouthi
Whenever there is a major local production, I feel almost obliged to give praise and ignore the obvious glitches and mistakes. With Petra Rocks there were so many that I couldn’t keep them in my blind spot.
A good place to start is purchasing the tickets . The person in charge of the tickets at the National Center for Culture and Arts was ill informed. I attended the night Dima Bawwab didn’t perform, a fact that person failed to mention when I went to buy the tickets two weeks ahead, right after he also failed to tell me that there is a seating chart and that the tickets are numbered. When asked about it, he thought that it was not his job to know.
The play itself was disappointing. After an announcement that the play will be delayed because “some people called and are still on the way”, the show opened to dancers dancing out of sync, costumes that, save for a couple of outfits worn by the lead actors, looked like something you’d see in a high school production, and lead actors that mostly looked like they were following steps and instructions rather than acting.
It wasn’t all negative. The set design was brilliant, with a level of creativity I haven’t seen before in any show in Amman. Despite the bad acting some voices were amazing, and the lead actors were very well trained, vocally. Rose El Wirr came as the biggest surprise, for someone who was part of probably the most talentless TV series ever made (Nisf Al Qamar) her voice was sensational. Adeeb Derhalli did a great job, with him and Lara Sawalha being the only actors who looked like they were in character. However, I would be interested in seeing Sawalha in a more serious role, since her role in the play felt too similar to her acting in a couple of the Ramadan shows with her father, actor Nabeel Sawalha.
My disappointment in the play stems mostly from the fact that I am tired of saying “it was brilliant, considering it’s a local production” or “it’s a great start”. With the amount of advertising, and as it appears the funding that it received, I expected more from the many highly established names in this sector in Jordan put together.