photo: kamel zebib

Sometimes we happen to meet persons that are difficult to be put into any borders. Their inner world is so boundless and the flow of their words is so big  that there is no choice but to provide them with a space for a Monologue. In this rubric our heroes talk about their intimate thoughts like actors standing on a big stage with one bright soffit lighting them, while the whole theatre is in complete silence and darkness. Absolute intimacy in the highest sense of this word. Just peer and listen attentively...

My name is Bshara Atallah. I am 42. I was born in Beirut where we lived through the whole Civil War. I spent my first 18 years at War.
Education - I studied in three directions. I studied public administration, population and demography in Beirut and at the same time I was doing acting and directing. Now I am doing more art rather than administration. But I have discovered that you always need to administrate your everyday work. Even if it's art, creation, you have to deal with people and papers. I am actor, dancer, choreographer, stylist, sometimes designer of costumes at theatre and film projects. In general, it is interesting to do arts and have opportunity to be in some places at the same time. For example, people see info in facebook and say: "Oh, my God, you are in Montreal!" And I say I am in Beirut but my film is in Montreal.  Funny: let's suppose you place a photo from Berlin and people will think you are there right now. I also do acting courses in a small school in Beirut. Over last 5 years I have done 3 projects that have participated in festivals in Beirut and theatre. Also  I am planning one work connected with production.


Everything around me inspires me. For example, if I see a lot of garbage, it inspires me to do particular things. If I see a lot of violence, it inspires me to do something against it. Artist expresses everything surrounding him and causing pain.  Many people living in luxurious areas think they need to go to India where there are many "sage" people. So, they are searching for this antagonism, while I have all of it here in Lebanon. As an artist sometimes you need to be an activist, otherwise things won't change. For example, I wanted to become an artist, to have education so that it would be official and then to do many things in the easier way, it's like a visa. I was trying to change people's mind, make them better or to tell them: "You can be better, if you change your behavior a little bit, point of view or if you try to be in somebody else's shoe. But people prefer not to get deep into things and they refer to "bad memory". People forgot even the huge war in Lebanon. Of course, war is a painful thing. People want to get rid of this pain and when the war is finished, they think they can do whatever they want. But if we look deeper, people that suffered war have something deep down that dictates them they should work and fight harder because now it's time to make sure it won't happen again. Because when war is finished, there is still something smoldering inside us and then suddenly it can get to the surface and explode. Well, this is the part of my inspiration.
Beautiful things also inspire me. Nature, colors, flowers' smells, people, children's smile. I like communicating with people from different backgrounds, countries, religions, statuses. I like this variety and I am very sociable. When you communicate, you know a lot of new things and this exchange of ideas and thoughts is wonderful. It also becomes inspiration for some work. Usually I love works that I do, because I am selective. That is why I told "yes" to this dialogue. If I say 'yes' to some project, it means I studied the script and I see the perspective. And I like such projects where I see the final result and I can feel that I affected somehow people's attitude towards something. Maybe, afterwards people will be able to create some changes themselves. 
photo: Nadine Abou Zaki


If we get into history, have a look at different artists, we can find out that it is always difficult to be an artist. It's not easy to be poor, to be rich, to be engineer, doctor, psychologist. And it's not easy to be a HUMAN, as you need to work hard on yourself. You need to say yourself everyday: "I need be better",  in spite of  your level of thinking. Even if you ask sellers at the street "how are you", they will reply that they are not good, as they didn't sell enough flowers. They want to sell more and seem better in front of others.
An artist has some kind of urge forwarded to people, meaning he wants to change the world to the better. It's great, even the idea itself is great. If we do something that changes others to the better, than we make our planet better. According to one research, if all people jump together at the same time, they can move the planet. The idea of working collectively is wonderful.

You know, everything is happening so quickly, brain have to adapt the changes every time, people have different worries, but sometimes you just really need silence so that to be able to re-load yourself. You always think about work, family, friends and etc. but suddenly you remember that there are you and you really need a minute of silence and free breathing. 

photo: kamel zebib

War has removed the feeling of "tomorrow", people live today. There are many films about the future. If you understand there is no future, then you should do something to have it. And sometimes it's important not WHAT you do, but HOW you do things. You see, smile affects, hugs  - all these things are unselfish. Use them, they will make you happy. You can become positive and change things around you. You always have a choice. You need to search for something that is interesting for you and the world at the same time. If you are selfish, then you risk to be alone. Those, who don't share thoughts and ideas, don't get a lot from people. Exchange is important and we are born with it. When you start communicating and interacting, you lose fear. Many people are afraid of communicating. War works the same way: I don't want to know you, I just want to kill you. Perhaps, your business and my business make a positive contribution, so, maybe we could cooperate and run together instead of constant competition. We can move each other forward. But things happening now depress me. Everything is so bad that people want to move.
For example, if we have a look at human cruelty. Over the last 4 years there have been many cases of killings and beating of women by their husbands and family members. What is going on? Why do people marry because of love and then kill each other because of love? How to explain that you must think and then act? How to get through to people and allow them to bright their message to you? Sometimes art deals with it, it allows to see things from different angles: from the point of view of the director, actor, choreographer, dancer, sculptor. And when it is successful, you think "Wow!"


Generally here people are everywhere, but hospitality distinguishes them. They are happy to welcome you and do the best for you. Maybe it is connected with the size of our country, organization or maybe people are just like this.  Maybe they are genuine. In fact, if you visit a very poor region, you will see that they are indeed very genuine.  

10 years ago I was working on the film named Under the bombs. We were on the south where Israeli army had destroyed many things. Director and me thought that people suffer there, and we decided to take candies for local people. We saw 2 women going home in the village. Their house was completely destroyed... We asked how they were. They replied: "Well, our home is destroyed. Thanks God, we are alive. We will build new one. We will work and buy a new car." This is a very positive thinking of a person, who had lost everything. We offered them Arabic sweets and they said: "Then you should have coffee with us".
Sometimes it seems that people, who don't have anything, are the richest ones because they are generous. They give everything from a pure heart. They will give you warm welcome, warm coffee, warm chatting. They let you into their life and, to my mind, this is the real richness. People in Lebanon do these things automatically and you can feel it, if you talk to them. They will help you, if you need any help.

There is some mass of people that like to show off. 1% of the population is very rich, the other 99% is poor. And then you think: is this all really necessary? For example, what am I going to do with 1 million dollars? Will I be able to spend them immediately? Sometimes it's much better to feel that you all earned honestly, despite the tiredness. Yes, having enough money for all you need is a good thing, but not having enough money sometimes is better, as it allows you to understand WHAT you really want. By the way, there are many people in Lebanon that are not indifferent to things happening in the world.

But still there is some discrimination, when people take someone's side. For example, Lebanese don't like non-Lebanese. They don't like Syrians because they take their job; Africans because they are black; Filipinas because they work about the house and teach English to their children; Sri-Lanka immigrants because their food smells. And how about to start loving other people? Because then you will also feel better. We all live together. Love towards human should not be connected with skin color, religion, way of thinking, sexual orientation. Just be a human that accepts others. Many people don't accept this fact, because they are "Lebanese" and that's why they are better. If you are really good Lebanese, then prove it. Start loving others. I often argue with people because of this discrimination, I can't stand it. I think, it's time to broaden our horizons and see more. And in fact, I also do it at my acting classes. I tell students: "I will teach you not only acting, but also how to become a better person". If you can move walls, fly, you are not a superman. Superman is when you have a desire to change things to the better. If you can do it, then you are a superman.
photo: Roland Haddad

Young generation people think that everything is made only for them. For example, they get surprised when they know that something was created in the 70-es. Technologies are not new, we just work, develop them, but many things were created long time before, not yesterday.

There are adult people among my students, not only young. People come to me to release themselves. You can put yourself in a situation where you can cry, shout and nobody will judge you. Everybody want it: young and adult. All come to classes to know how to be free. Many people get nervous before public speeches. They worry about their outfit, about their speech. If you know what you are do, then do it well, meaning be yourself.
Society is dictating some things and we start to believe that it is the truth. To my mind, truth is something that you have to work on everyday basis. There is no absolute truth. For example, if I don't know how this is made, I will search and try to find out. You can't know everything, you have to put some effort to know something. Now many things are happening virtually and people don't know how to arrange their 'present'. They either think about their past, or future and forget about the most precious moment - about the present.
I am not pessimistic. All people want a better life. I am just afraid of those, who are afraid of changes. They don't push forward, don't try. If you have fears, changes won't happen. I think that positive changes might happen, if people want them.
*that moment the restaurant presented a dessert and Bshara replied:   
Oh, here you are. I think, things are changing nevertheless. (smiling)

That's the sign.

(с) gayanat project, 2017