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04 May 2012 Second review of Heritage Festival

Historians refer to folklore, traditions, language, mythology, games, songs and music as part of the intangible heritage of a community. The best childhood memories of people in most communities constitute their grandmother’s tales and household traditions that were passed down generations.

Among the popular events organized for 20the Heritage Festival’s Folk Tales: Sea..Land..City, is the play Fsaijrah, which takes on this family trend to showcase a popular Bahraini grandma’s tale.

Directed by Nedal Al Attawi and with the eloquent Muna Fairooz as the narrator, the play enacted on sets specially erected for the purpose, took us back in time and reminded expatriates and Bahrainis of the close connections between various world societies.

All communities have stories with a moral in the end and children are taught good behavior and socially accepted mannerisms through highly imaginative examples narrated through a story. Although the play was enacted in Arabic the excellent renditions of the mood through the live guitar, played by Hassan who was accompanied with timely drum beats by Nedal, set the mood for a great evening where one could immerse in the Arabic language.

Muna’s narration was as any of my Bahraini colleagues would say, ‘Mashallah!’ and her tone, facial expressions and evocative voice kept the audience rooted to their seats for the 40-45 minutes duration of the play. The story took the audience back in time, when occupations in most Bahraini households had some connection with the sea.

Fsaijarah is Cinderella’s story with a Bahraini twist. While the lead roles in both stories have close resemblance in their characteristics, the settings change to a Bahraini fisherman’s household tormented by the death of his beloved wife. Typically the second wife comes into the picture with a step daughter and predictably reduces the status of the fisherman’s daughter to that of a servant.

Her solace and guardian angel comes in the form of a magical fish that she once helped rescue. The fish, who replaces Cinderella’s fairy godmother, helps the young girl realize all her wishes that includes a trip to the Sultan’s palace where the prince is on the lookout for a beautiful bride.

The all important golden slipper is also present here and reminds us that despite cultural differences, the similarities are what make the world a wonderful place to live in.
Fsaijrah is a great show and cast and crew deserves applause for a wonderful, entertaining evening. Two performances of the play have been organized every evening at 5pm and 7pm until Wednesday, May 9 at the Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre in Sanabis. All events are free of charge.

Log on to for details on the festival events.

Participation in the 43rd Fine Arts Exhibition Bahrain Map