In the Eyes of Heaven

In the Eyes of Heaven is a monologue written by the Maroccan political theorist Rachid Benzine, directed by Ruud Gielens and performed by renowned Hiam Abbass, that interweaves the developments in Arab politics of the last forty years with the position of women in contemporary Arab society.

To look into the eyes of heaven is to look in the eyes of a woman who you would pay to possess for a few minutes or a few hours in the privacy of a room, away from the gaze of strangers, but rarely to love. A woman who in this world is immersed in the immense loneliness left behind by a fate that pursued her far too early and far too violently, and from which she wants to protect her own daughter.

It is her words that she directs at the powerless heavens, sometimes whispering, sometimes howling. Words that express the secrets, the fury and the disillusionment of a woman who has already been battered by life and who suddenly, at the start of the Arab spring, sees her fragile hope of a new life collapse along with the regime. In this period of waiting, between a yesterday that is lost and a tomorrow that’s a long time coming, she sits, at once unyielding, funny and fragile, amid the bustle of an Arab street populated by the shadows of wanderers and of the dying.

Based on a text by Rachid Benzine, the Belgian director Ruud Gielens and the actress Hiam Abbass developed a monologue on the position of women in Maghreb. The Paris-based actress Hiam Abbass has played a part in extraordinary films in the last decades and participated in international productions, i.a. with directors like Steven Spielberg, Jim Jarmusch, Éric Benard, Ridley Scott, Patrice Chéreau. Ruud Gielens directed the song recital Hätte klappen können at Gorki in the season 2013/14.

A Production of the Kaaitheater, Brussels


This guest performance is part of the festival Uniting Backgrounds – Theatre on Democracy.

Directed by
Ruud Gielens