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The house of the pioneer of Arab theater, Abu Khalil al-Qabbani in Damascus, turns into a “ruin”

The house of the pioneer of Arab theater, Abu Khalil al-Qabbani in Damascus, turns into a “ruin”

date of publication:
July 02 2022 9:30 GMT

Update date: Jul 02 2022 11:15 GMT

Only the ruins remain from the house of the pioneer of the Arab musical theater, Abi Khalil al-Qabbani (1833-1903), located in the Mazze Kiwan area of ​​Damascus.

The Syrian Ministry of Tourism had expropriated al-Qabbani’s dilapidated house in 2010, with the aim of turning it into a museum and theater, but after several years, it offered it for investment, and awarded the contract to a businessman, but he did nothing with it.

The remains of the earthen house show signs of tampering and the effects of years of neglect, as it has no roof, some of its walls have been destroyed, and murals that used to decorate the walls have been looted from it, in addition to the disappearance of Abu Khalil al-Qabbani’s memoirs a long time ago.

Writer Samer Muhammad Ismail told “Erm News”: “There are reports of converting the house into a tourist facility, so we call on the concerned authorities to save this important cultural monument.”

Al-Qabbani House witnessed prosperous periods when theatrical rehearsals and technical meetings were held in the square that tops the house, overlooking Mount Qasioun and Barada River.

Abu Khalil al-Qabbani is considered the first to establish an Arab theater, and he presented his first show in 1871 under the title “Sheikh Wadah, the Lamp and the Power of Spirits.” It was a great success, but the sheikhs complained to the governor of Damascus, and he was suspended from work for a period of time, to return later to his activity, where he presented about 40 theater performances in his early years in Damascus.

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And writer Samer Muhammad Ismail adds: “The house of Abu Khalil al-Qabbani must turn into a museum and theater to be a mecca for all intellectuals and playwrights of the world.”

Al-Qabbani’s life was marked by travel and changes, as he left for Egypt in 1884 and presented the play “Anas Al-Jalis”, which was a great success, and many theater pioneers studied at his hands, and he quoted many works from international stories.

The late writer Saadallah Wannous describes the reactionaries’ confrontation with Al-Qabbani Theater as a creative killing, as his theater was burned and the boys were incited to chase him in the street, calling: “Abu Khalil Al-Qabbani.

The Egyptian musician Kamel Al-Khula’i, in his book “The Oriental Music”, cites the text of “Al-Mudaba” which the notables of Damascus raised against Al-Qabbani, and they say in it: “The presence of acting in the Syrian countries is what makes proud souls suffer, so it represents in the eyes of the beholder the conditions of lovers, and what they find of pleasure In good relations after separation.”

Many years later, the most important theater in Damascus was named Al-Qabbani, but the neglect of his home and the disappearance of some of its monuments is still questionable by those interested in theatre.

Al-Qabbani was also famous as a composer for the most famous traditional songs, such as “Ya Mal al-Sham,” “Ya Tira Tiri Ya Hamama,” “Sayd al-Asari,” and many of the muwashahat and qudud that people have been chanting so far.

More than a hundred and twenty years after the departure of Al-Qabbani, and his earthen house resisting the factors of time and neglect, and the dangers of modern towers staring at it from all sides.

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