Society & Culture

Actor Ahmed Reda Deheeb: The hardest thing for an artist is to abandon his profession

* We thought war was an April Fool’s joke!

* We are the ones affected by the war and politicians are screaming from outside the country

*For the first time, I’m afraid


Actor, writer and director Ahmed Reda Deheeb speaks to his fans during videos on Facebook, presenting the poignant joke, as his sickness did not stop him:

Interview with Magda Hassan

How do you see art activity in the states?

Khartoum was the capital of art in terms of drama and singing, or it was the capital of Sudanese arts. It was the light. You could even find artists from all states in the capital to present their arts to the people.

Do you think that artistic activity had stopped at all before the war?

Yes, it has diminished over the years, especially during the two years of civil rule and the complex problems that followed. There was no interest here in the arts or theater. There were many promises that the National Theater building would be repaired from the previous regime until the latest. Water was leaking the basement of the National Theater building, and the building was under the threat of collapsing. A committee could have come to look into the matter, make a plan, and end the problem.

But there were many works of art even in the period you mentioned?

People were presenting their artistic performances through their own efforts.
During the previous Ramadan, in which the damned war took place, there was a huge movement of young people in drama, to the point that they presented more than eight series on the media and on the screens with individual efforts.

What about theatrical activity?

Theatrical work is expensive and difficult and requires extensive advertising. Efforts were less and we felt sad because the transitional period did not have a view on the arts. We had previously heard that all financial efforts were directed to Darfur and the war zones, but even after the peace agreement there was no budget for the National Theater or television.

Did you also have new works?

With great effort, I was able to present two series during this period (Zeinab Moin Unexhaustible), written and directed by me, and I participated in the starring. We felt that we were in a tragic situation, but the great tragedy came on April 15. If it had been one April day, we would have said it was an April Fool’s joke. We thought it would stop, but it did not happen. We were patient, and when patience ran out and livelihood supplies ran out for most of the creative people, they left the safe states, and despite that, the devil of art was restless within them, and they moved the states and presented their works, as Atbara became the capital of the arts, as well as the city of Wad Madani, where Dr.Ali Saeed presented the Theater Festival. This is the true strength and solidity of Sudanese dramatists.

How do you see the arts at this stage?

One of the advantages of the current disaster is that it brought together the creative people in the shelter centers, such as Al-Rashid Ahmed Issa, Abdul Wahid Abdullah, Ezz Al-Din Kojak, the prince of dramatists in Madani, and others. Madani presented an honorable stance of shelters and facilities, and dramatic art reassured that the tragedy of Khartoum had come to an end.
Also, one of the advantages of the disaster is that the creative capital moved to the states for the first time. Creativity rose, clubs, schools, theaters, and parks were decorated, and we felt a kind of relative relief because it is known that the most difficult thing for an artist is to abandon his profession.

Has displacement generated creativity?

The momentum of sadness ignited a revolution of creativity, and creative people gave what they could, and there are those who write. I wrote after in my sickness bed, and as displacement was against my natural structure, so I stayed and tried to be creative on my facebook page and bring smiles to the souls of my friends.

Is your activity in the media continuous?

Appearing in the media is easier and more beautiful. However, Imagine eight days without electricity or water, and the relationship with the world is completely cut off, let alone the sounds of bombing that shake us all around. Sadness, suffering, hardship in life, and constant cruelty. Even for those who presented works, they did not get paid. This is a wound that will not heal, and it will bleed us even after the war stops.

Who or what did you lose because of the war?

We lost each other, and the situation continues to this day. We lost peace of mind. Sudanese actors proved that they are strong and determined. They work in their country and abroad. Although they work separately, they work together with the public.
We lost lives such as Majed Suleiman, the friend of all dramatists and the husband of our colleague Hind Zamrawi. We lost Kaboos, one of the main actor of the series, (Sika Dayaa’), the beloved of the young. We lost the wife of Professor Al-Rashid Ahmed Issa and Abbas Awad Jibril, the dramatic actor who died due to an explosion. We lost those who traveled abroad, such as Alkandi Alamin, who left to Qatar.

Was Khartoum war within your expectations?

We did not imagine that a war would break out in Khartoum, as it was a cohesive and peaceful society, Although I pray that as much as it brings harm, also bring benefit. May Allah curse politics that revealed its ugly face. Politics did not achieve much for Sudan. The wars in Sudan were far from the capital, and now we have tasted their bitterness now. The people of the capital now felt all these tragedies, and for the first time I am afraid of this war, not the fear of death, but the fear of loss. Terror envelops my soul, despite my imperturbability, I am afraid to hear bad news. We are the ones fighting this war while the politicians are screaming in other countries, and we were the ones who suffered from it.

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