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TV drama, theatre productions long for a season of revival

By Joy Mazahreh - Apr 21,2021 - Last updated at Apr 21,2021

AMMAN — While gathering around television during the holy month of Ramadan has been known as a ritual for many Jordanian families, major Jordanian TV drama productions remain missing.

“Drama in Jordan is going through a war on its own,” Hani Alkhaldi, a Jordanian actor and director, told The Jordan Times.

While Jordan has been known for its vintage drama series, this mainstream genre has become an easily predicted and safe option for many Jordanian production companies.

“Production companies do not choose riskier options today,” said Alkhaldi in an interview with The Jordan Times. “This is why they always adhere to vintage Jordanian works because there is no competition from abroad,” he added.

Alkhaldi expressed his pride in how well-established Jordanian TV drama is in its vintage works, yet he voiced his confidence in Jordanian actors and their ability to achieve greater and broader works. 

“There is a need for Jordanian writers who are original, Jordanian directors who have a clear vision, and Jordanian production companies who choose quality over quantity,” Alkhaldi said, adding that the field has many “invaders” as opposed to experts with an academic background.

Alkhaldi hoped for a better future for Jordanian drama, noting that “we are indeed capable of producing modern works based on current Jordan and our identity in the present”.

“Instead of finishing our routine-like daily job and going home like other employees, we are aiming for putting our uttermost creativity in producing innovative works in Jordanian TV drama,” Alkhaldi noted.

Theatre drama in Jordan is also going through the same crisis today. The lack of attention both financially and professionally is what the sector is suffering from the most.

Hisham Swiedan, a Jordanian theatre actor and director said that the Jordanian theatre has been deeply affected due to the pandemic. 

“It was a hard time for all of us as actors and directors, especially those who depend on this profession for a living,” Swiedan told The Jordan Times. 

“Jordanian threatre suffers from lack of creativity, but we can do a lot about it,” Swiedan noted, adding that “both the Culture Ministry and the Jordanian Actors Association can offer workshops that help in the field’s development”.

He pointed out that many actors and actresses in Jordan have great capabilities, they only need to be given the right opportunity. 

Doa’a Al Edwan, a Jordanian theatre director and actress, seconded Hisham Swiedan. 

“We already had a hard time as theatre actors in finding stability as well as acceptance from the Jordanian audience, and the pandemic made it only worse due to the lockdowns which cancelled most of the cultural events including plays and festivals,” Edwan told The Jordan Times. 

 “The support that we seek as theatre directors and actors is to be more appreciated not only financially but also emotionally,” said Edwan, adding that “providing spaces to rehearse, more opportunities, and better support in cultural events would make a huge difference”.

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