Monty has commissioned a new work from Antwerp newcomer Mokhallad Rasem (Bagdad, 1981). Rasem trained both as a director and as an actor in Bagdad, where he also made his first productions. But the war in Iraq changed the course of his life and for the last five years he has been living and working in Belgium, where his is a new voice on the theatre scene. His work for the theatre is breathtaking and physical, associative and fragmentary in construction, clear and expressive in its ideas. He made a name for himself with his Irakese Geesten (Iraqi Ghosts, creative award Theater aan Zee 2010, short-listed for the Vlaams Theaterfestival 2010) and his Monde.com (Facebook), (KunstenfestivaldesArts 2011).
Mokhallad Rasem is very familiar with Caligula. Even while still studying theatre, he wanted to direct this classic by Albert Camus but performances of the play were banned under Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. Shortly after the fall of Hussein in 2005, the then 23-year-old Rasem chose it as the subject of his thesis, making his the first production of the play in Iraq for more than 35 years. Seven turbulent years later Rasem is working on a whole new version of Caligula, a contemporary play which, like no other, analyzes the essence of dictatorial power.