From the Days of Saladin 2011
The crux of the story takes place way back when… during the clashes between Saladin (who was raised in the city of Baalbek and who was the last Leader to unify the Arab Nations under the same banner) and Richard the Lion Heart (King of England and leader of the Armies to conquer the Holy City, passing by Lebanon). The story highlights the impact of the conflict between East and West, a time dating back to our ancestors, focusing on Lebanon. This Lebanon, whose fate has been to witness the constant pushing and pulling of both cultures, with a schizogenesis among its people that is typically both Eastern and Western.
The script is not classical nor does it contain the classical historic narration of a historical piece. The intrigue is a core element of this production, whose principal role is comprised of an author of contemporary theater. After his friend encouraged him and insisted, he continues to write his script titled “From the Days of Saladin”. It’s a production he had started 20 years earlier and had not pursued because of the lack of interest in the production end of it.
The author narrates daily life, presented in this production exactly as it had taken plan, starting in his office where he had imagined how the action had taken place, as if it was happening under his eyes, in his office, in between the books on the shelves and the documents surrounding him, complete with lit candles, drawers in the furniture, etc.
The story begins with the siege of the Holy City by Saladin, after he had succeeded to unify the Arabs and take control of most of the Arab territories, with the exception of Tyr and Tripoli. After a short resistance, the Holy City crumbles. Saladin takes charge of the well-being of the inhabitants without forcing those who were against to yield.
After having gone into Jerusalem, Saladin meets the poor who didn’t have enough to pay the tax. He manifests his humanitarian side by allowing them to leave if they so wish. He then distributes whatever help was needed to those who were ill or old in the invaders troops. The Arab Christians of Jerusalem are treated in favor and Saladin refuses to destroy the Church of Resurrection. On Christmas Eve, he is seen in the streets of the City, distributing presents to those who had chosen to stay.
The fall of the Holy City to Arab hands creates big waves in the West who launches the “Third Crusade” led by most of the European Kings towards the Middle East.
One of those kings is Richard the Lion Heart, King of England, who starts by conquering the city of Akka. The city holds for a long time under siege, thanks to the support of a Lebanese Marine from Beirut who had brought with it provisions and reinforcements to help fortify the defense.
Written and Directed by : Farid & Maher Sabbagh