Syrian War Stories At Gogolfest 2016 in Kyiv
4 October, 2016

What You Need To Know:

✅ The Ukrainian contemporary art festival “Gogolfest” hosts a special theatrical program dedicated to displaced people worldwide and the horrors of war and political repression;

✅ The program includes a performance of 'The Skeleton of an Elephant in the Desert', directed by a Syrian drama teacher Ayham Majid Agha; 

✅ The show features a collection of testimonies of Syrians who have fled the five-year civil war;

✅ Agha: "I felt (there) was no way to continue work normally (in Syria). It's not a life, (although) it's not just about the war.”

A new theatre production highlighting the personal stories of people forced to flee war in Syria has been premiered at Ukraine's Gogolfest contemporary art festival. 

The performance called The Skeleton of an Elephant in the Desert is the brainchild of Ayham Majid Agha, a Syrian drama teacher who fled from Syria to Germany in July 2013.

“When you are waiting for your partner, when you are surrounded, trapped in an empty city. When there are no more bridges to cross and your friend has become your enemy. There is only one way out – loneliness. What you see gradually transforms your city into the skeleton of an elephant in the desert”, Agha said, according to the official Gogolfest website.

In an interview broadcast on Hromadske TV, Agha said the war was not the sole reason for fleeing Syria for western Europe. 

"It's not a life. It's not just about the war situation because the war situation is not Damascus. Damascus is a safe city with some rockets from time to time. (But) you can't do anything about theatre in Damascus from 2012. You can't say what you want. That's why I decided to leave Syria." 

Prior to leaving Syria, Ayham Majid Agha dedicated vast amounts of time throughout eight years to perform different plays in dozens of villages across Syria. His hometown is now occupied by the so-called Islamic State. 

"I hope they can feel the loneliness, the killing, and the destruction...really after the war, everything is destroyed, with the cement colour looking like a huge skeleton, somewhere. it's my history, it's my memory, it's my past".

Agha says not applying for asylum in Germany was a key decision in order to keep his identity, not as a refugee or politician but an opponent to the situation in Syria."