* سراب, a mirage
THEATRE OF SHADOWS
Night. The year 1236. The city of Aleppo in Syria. Entire auditorium's space is covered by the video projected atrium of "Al-Firdaws Madrasa", of which is visible only its shadowy illusion, and wherein is dragged the audience. It will be separated from the stage (looking as if being placed in the bottom of the atrium) by a white curtain, behind which there will take place "the theatre of shadows". Stretched between puppets/actors and spectators, it will make a clear boundary in between physical, bodily world of the audience, and the world of imagination. A strong light, directed to it, will be reviving dolls/characters, and a playing metaphor for the dawning, that is a creative power of God.
On the edges of the auditorium's rows, under the video-projected pillars of Al-Firdaws Madrasa’s atrium, here it is, moving at the dignified pace, a still gracious woman in her 50s, clothed in a royal, but still modest dress, which meets Islamic code of dressing. It is Dayfa Khâtûn, Mâlek Az-Zâher’s widow, a current regent and constructor of the Madrasa, who, as approaching the stage with a white curtain, pronounces, in the role of a Muqaddam/Speaker, two prologues.
DAYFA HÂTÛN, Prologue 1:
Glory be God, Who is without shape or shadow,
and Who is The Creator instead of shapes and shadows!
Praised be The Author of The Book-Universe,
that combines all other Divine books!
Praised be The Sender of the Last Prophet,
and Last Messenger,
A Perfect man,
in who are united all previously sent,
may the blessing and peace be upon him,
and his immaculate offspring!
As taking in her hands a saz, and striking it, Dayfa clearly separates first from the second prologue:
DAYFA KHÂTÛN, Prologue 2:
Glory be to the Tailor of every image,
The One Who places a stick in our body,
by which are moved our limbs,
The Producer of every sound and music,
movement and dance,
The Author of all narratives,
and The Genuine Narrator!
And may He be thanked for the possibility
offered me by Him,
to fill this lonely night with a play,
that I named "Sarâb"
"The Devine School"
which I gave to be built:
- In memory of our teacher and guide,
Shihâbu`d-Dîn Bin Yahyâ as-Suhrawardî,
a great theosopher and gnostic,
a victim of intrigues of those who are given
"hearts but they do not understand,
the eyes but they do not perceive,
the ears but they do not listen",
who were sent to The Book of Guidance,
but they "do not hold it except for the paper and script"
and hence are not but the mere paper wraiths,
Illusionary people in the theatre of illusions of letters,
by which they replace a real life
of the divine signs,
being both; signs and the signified
at the same time!
- In memory of the Master,
who taught and trained my husband,
Salahu`d-dîn's honest son,
Prince Mâlek Az-Zâher,
to be the inheritor of his
"Wisdom of Illumination",
a fair and generous ruler,
in a constant remembrance of God,
and resolute oblivion of his ego.
- But above all, I gave to be built this
in the name of, and to the eternal glory of The One
Who is All-Merciful,
including this poor Aleppo's quarter,
where He helped me establish,
all in one place:
a school - for studying true sciences,
a house of worshipping - not but the One,
a zâvia - for the Gnostics and Sûfis,
and a waqf - for the poor,
and of the benefit to all people of the world!
- And my thanks to all those,
who came to see this "Sarâb". . .
a prelude to the genuine drama about
a "Divine sage"
a " Crimson Intellect" of his time,
Abu'l-Futûh, from Suhraward,
as an imaginary introduction to a sad,