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Epic 'Al Faris' musical stages grand debut in Dubai

The landmark production in Arab musical theatre is based on poems by Shaikh Mohammed

  • A scene from Al Faris during the opening show at the Rashid Hall at the Dubai World Trade Centre on Wednesday.Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/ Gulf News
  • Al Faris the Knight, a musical inspired by poems of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice PrImage Credit: Zarina Fernandes/ Gulf News
  • Image Credit: Twitter
  • Image Credit: Twitter
  • A scene from Al Faris musical staged on Wednesday night in DubaiImage Credit: Twitter
Gulf News

Dubai: Al Faris (The Knight), an epic musical inspired by the poems of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, opened Wednesday at the Rashid Hall at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Shaikh Mohammad witnessed the live performance of the grand premiere night on Wednesday at the jampacked hall attended by 2,000 people.  

He was accompanied by Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Deputy Ruler of Dubai.

Renowned Lebanese actor Ghassan Saliba and popular Emirati singer Balqees played the lead roles in the play that has been produced through a collaboration between Brand Dubai, the creative arm of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), and Rahbani Productions.

Al Faris premiere

The show features English subtitles and runs until January 9.

Shaikh Mohammed has stressed on the importance of constructive innovation and its positive impact on nation building and people development, said that honesty in creative expression is a huge responsibility and directly contributes to the development of nations.

Al Faris (The Knight), described as a unique contribution to Arab theatre, breaks new ground in many aspects of production due to the innovative techniques being used to tell a compelling, allegorical story about a warrior’s journey.

Al faris aha 2

The epic play, co-written by renowned Lebanese theatrical director Marwan Rahbani and Ghady Al Rahbani, is described as a landmark production in the history of Arab musical theatre.

Combining a range of visual and technological special effects, the one hour and 20 minutes, one-act epic takes verses from 30 poems by Shaikh Mohammad to weave a narrative that addresses a range of themes, from love and humanity to leadership, courage and wisdom.

 al faris 4

“Al Faris is an allegorical play that explores the role of a leader in inspiring his people to realise their aspirations and dreams. The play alludes to the need to strike a balance between tradition and heritage on the one side and modernity on the other,” said Al Rahbani, President and Chief Executive of Rahbani Productions. 

“The themes of the play are especially relevant at a time when the Arab world is going through a challenging period in its history.”

Production

Al Faris boasts a crew of more than 800, including 250 cast members from over 40 nationalities. Doors for the show open at 6pm every day while curtains rise at 6.30pm.

The production team traveled to Ukraine, Malaysia, UK and Lebanon to record the music and shoot the scenes for the cinematic backdrop for the play. 

al faris 6 aha

The opening night was also attended by Shaikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum Foundation; Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and CEO of Emirates Group; Shaikha Al Jalila Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum; ministers; director generals of government departments and senior officials. 

Director General of the Government of Dubai Media Office Mona Al Marri said that the epic musical play will further boost Dubai’s emergence as a hub for culture and creativity. 

She said the play brings a message of peace from Dubai to the world, adding: "Al Faris reflects the noble values embedded in our religion and Arab culture. The play is a call to the entire world to revive such values that can help nations overcome the difficult challenges they are facing today."

Al Marri further said: “Dubai is a global city with over 200 nationalities. When we talk to such a diverse society, we are talking to the entire world in microcosm. Al Faris speaks in a universal language created by the music, choreography, costumes, cinematic scenes and visual effects."

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