Putting the Nation on Stage

Alissar Gazal is The Merchant

September 7, 2016

Alissar Gazal is a Lebanese-born actress, filmmaker and was also a professional chef. Alissar has been acting since 1991, starting with Australia’s first Bilingual Arabic Australian theatre company TAQA, where she performed, co devised and co-produced numerous productions. Food is a passion that began in her mother’s kitchen in Lebanon, where she was surrounded by great cooks with a love of the land. Alissar has also starred in numerous film and television productions including the web series “I Luv U But”. In her spare time she directs and produces documentaries.

Alissar plays The Merchant in the upcoming production The Cartographer’s Curse, written and directed by Paula Abood.

Why did you get involved in this project?
I was asked by Paula to come on board. I have done theatre with Paula from 1991 through to 1999 and we haven’t done theatre together since so it was really nice to be able to come back to it.

Was there anything in particular about the story that resonated with you?
The subject matter is absolutely important and essential. I am a political artist, I am not into art for art’s sake. When Paula explained what The Cartographer’s Curse was about I got really excited because I’m aware of the issues that surround that. I am one of the numerous children of the children of the people that were displaced by colonialism and I totally understand where that’s coming from.

Given your background, what do you feel you can bring to this project?
I consider myself as a bit of a trouble-shooter and I think outside the box, so when you are working collaboratively within a group and things get a bit complex I tend to always look for alternative ideas. I am also bilingual, I sing, percussions, I have a comedic edge so I can bring everything from drama to comedy.

In terms of your character’s development do you feel like those skills will come through?
I am hoping that they will add to the final result. I think they will and that is to do with this type of collaborative approach to the creative process because you develop the character as you go along. You are not simply handed a script and told to go learn your lines.. you actually develop those lines and you develop a feel for that character from day one. And that is what has been happening with each and everyone of us and I love that type of process, it is much more of an organic and honest way of developing theatre.

What do you feel motivates and drives your art form?
Politics drives me in many ways so whenever I am working in the art field, whether it is film or theatre, I have a vision or a message that I want to convey. I consider myself as a political activist and I find that art is a great way of expressing a thought rather than doing it in a didactic and lecturing way. The thing about expressing a thought in an artistic way is that you can be very subtle, you can be very creative and there are multiple layers to your messages and I think that works better. I think the impact you create when you are doing political art is long term. Create a piece of theatre with a variety of layered subtle messages and bring in a number of people who sit, watch and listen.. the messages get in. It may take a day, a week or longer but the message does get in. That is the power of art.

TCC Website imageNational Theatre of Parramatta & Third Space Productions present

5th to 8th October 2016 at Riverside Theatres
For more information click here