In the Eruptive Mode

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In 2011, democratic uprisings erupted all over the Arab world. Citizens challenged their leadership and questioned regimes. In the Eruptive Mode presents six stories of ordinary citizens — all women — caught in the violence and chaos of the Arab Spring. Through visceral songs and spoken word, this show unveils unheard voices, each at their own point of no return. Internationally acclaimed Anglo-Kuwaiti writer and director Sulayman Al-Bassam brought his inventive, satirical take on Shakespeare’s The Speaker’s Progress to ArtsEmerson in 2011. Now he returns with a powerful new feat of storytelling.

Through voice and song, In the Eruptive Mode embraces contemporary language to respond to the challenges that still reign across much of the Arab world. Raw, melodic, and entirely original: these are voices of the Arab Spring.

“Each of the characters exists in a distinct relationship to the geographies and timelines of the Middle East region following the popular uprisings of 2012,” shares writer/director Sulayman Al-Bassam. “Some, like the character in The Lament of the Young Prostitute, are unwittingly caught up in events at an early point of civil unrest; others, like the sniper from a minority Christian community in Chant of the White Phoenix, are trapped inside the infernal horror of civil war. There are outsiders to the region also, like the war journalist in Vertical Vision — inspired by Marie Colvin, The Sunday Times correspondent killed whilst reporting on the siege of Homs in Syria — who is consumed by the need to bear witness to the suffering of others.”



ArtsEmerson welcomes the return of celebrated Arab theatre-maker Sulayman Al Bassam (The Speakers Progress, 2011) with In The Eruptive Mode. The production runs one week only, January 24 through 28, 2018 at the Emerson Paramount Center’s Robert J. Orchard Stage, located at 559 Washington Street in Downtown Boston. Tickets range from $20-80, and may be purchased online at, by phone at 617.824.8400, or in person at the box office. Student, senior and group discounts are available.