One of Beirut’s freshest young talents, Yara Boustany works at the crossroads of visual arts and performance. Her work focuses on transforming words, images, ideas and thoughts into movements, visuals and sounds.
We spoke to Yara about ēvolvō, which will have its UK premiere at the Gate Theatre between 5 -6 July.
Can you tell us a bit about ēvolvō?
ēvolvō is a personal illustration of the beginning of life on earth, symmetrical but slightly chaotic. It approaches the dilemma of being human in a rapidly evolving society – technologically, scientifically and philosophically – where the mind has significantly and rapidly changed, while the body cannot keep up and is therefore left behind, still animal. The human body, adapted to climb trees, pick fruits, and chase animals for food, is suddenly faced with a new reality: sitting on a chair for hours, facing a screen.
Then this human is unveiled, exposed, deconstructed, this Homo Sapiens faced with bulks of information, countless theories… This animal, this human, born from nature and thrown into the city – this complex system created by humans themselves – now lives in the anxiety and disappointments of an unjust, generally unhappy world. A warrior is imagined and presented, a being feeding on the city, creating a link with nature, with her animal roots and core, searching and fighting for balance in the form of a ritual.
Where did the inspiration for the show come from?
Everyday life… taking a step back and trying to figure out what this strange species is doing with this planet.
What’s been your most interesting experience presenting this show before?
I guess my favourite part is listening to the public’s interpretations of the performance, every time someone says something they saw in the piece that I hadn’t even thought about…
This is the UK premiere of ēvolvō. What does it mean to you to be presenting your show here?
I’m very happy and curious..!!
You are presenting ēvolvō alongside shorter work One Day & One Night Beirut. Can you tell us a bit about that?
One Day & One Night Beirut is one of the first pieces I made, it’s about Beirut, the city I have been living in for many years now.. It’s a journey from sleep to reality… from flowing dreams and menacing nightmares to everyday life simplicity and overwhelming chaos.
How did you get into theatre?
I was a clown first… I enjoyed the freedom clowns can have on the street… excused of social manners and obligations… I think that ironically, I found in theatre a way to stop acting all the time.
Do you have any words of wisdom for those wanting to make theatre?
Mmmm… I’m not sure… for me it is a game between mind and body… Like in all the arts!!
Why should everyone see ēvolvō?
This ever-changing world not only defines us as human beings, but also creates a deep-rooted, emotionally and physically exhausting everyday challenge. This performance seeks to unveil this challenge and present the coping mechanism of a highly evolved, yet animal being, driven by consciousness and intellect, but also by basic instincts and impulse. It addresses a relatable and familiar feeling of alienation faced by the humans of the modern world. Furthermore, it touches on the importance of integrating the sciences and arts, as art can be the means of transmitting these complex scientific concepts to the public in innovative, entertaining, and emotionally moving ways. For a long time and still today, the misconception that the sciences and arts are in contradiction, continues to limit and confine them. However, always more and little by little, from the classroom to practical application, the advantages of this incorporation are being recognized.
To conclude, this performance uses art to transmit an otherwise gloomy, hard-to-accept concept, which explained from a purely scientific and psychological perspective, would not catch the attention it deserves. For change to take place and for awareness to spread, people have to be presented with ideas and realities they can relate to. Science as we know it today, often fails to convey its messages, hence leading to consequences and misconceptions. Art has the ability and means to break this cycle, and therefore become the instrument of change.
Don’t miss ēvolvō at the Gate Theatre between 5 – 6 July. Part of Shubbak @ Gate.
3pm Family performance: Book now
7pm performance: Book now