Thursday, July 18, 2024

“Rehab” in “Crystal” was the worst role of my life

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Absences among the cast are as heavy as returnees. This is how Rola Hamada appears after 3 years in a “rehabilitation” role. He chose the “Crystal” series as a window to meet the audience. In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, he describes the experience of this drama production, “It was a delightful adventure and a beautiful journey after 9 months of shooting in Istanbul.”

The veteran Lebanese actress does not allow emptiness to permeate her days. “I am a workaholic, and shooting locations are places dear to my heart and places where I live,” he says. The “Crystal” project, shown on the “Shahid” platform and on the “MBC” screen, came at the right time, inviting Rula Hamadeh to open a new page after the forced recession imposed by the Corona epidemic and the economy. Crisis in Lebanon.

Rula Hamada as “Rehabilitation” in the series “Crystal” (Instagram).

In the “Rehabilitation” corridor

He has taken on some of the most difficult roles on stage, television and cinema and has taken on some of the most complex roles. “Rehabilitation” called her even before reading the entire script. “That girl has an internal language. “She speaks without speaking… not speaking much, but despite her silence she is present.” Hamada speaks in awe of “rehabilitation” even as he explains all its complex psychological layers. “I’ve played evil characters, but not to this degree of brutality and darkness. It’s like they have a pressure cooker with a huge amount of evil inside them.”

Accomplishing the role was a challenge that required delving into the corridors of the human psyche to extract the most complex feelings and reactions. Hamada says in this context, “The actor’s job is to reach in and pull out of these corridors what serves the role.” Although the character was filled with darkness, the actress was happy with the role because it was new to her: “I had to show all the evil through calmness, physical expression and inner strength.”

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Housekeeper from the series “Rehabilitation”. But she is more than that, and her presence in the story is crucial. Rula Hamada doesn’t stop at how many scenes she appears in, or the number of words she says. The actress believes that there is no such thing as a big role or a small role, rather it is the actor who makes the role bigger or smaller. She doesn’t hide that she heard objectionable comments saying, “The role is small, not for you,” but she doesn’t want to comment because she knows the character’s progress and where she is going. “I know what I’ve delivered, so let’s wait until the 90th and final chapter…then that’s my nature. I don’t like to debate back and forth.” Hamada has no problem with the character’s size, saying, “It has meaning and impact, and when it’s removed it creates a void.”

The Turkish Experience

Rula Hamada announced that she is ready to participate in Arab Turkish drama again. He enjoyed the experience at the professional level, he confirms: “It was an opportunity to work with a professional team and accumulate a new experience.” But he refuses to repeat a role like “Rehabilitation” based on the need for a variety of roles and in search of renewed wonder.

To prepare for the role and create the character, he sat down with the Turkish director to understand what he wanted, especially since he had not seen the Turkish version of the series “War of the Roses”. Hamada reveals that he deviated from the previously drawn itinerary for the “rehabilitation”, keen to “infuse the character with a new Arabic flavor” different from the original Turkish version. But what she loved most was the screen time the crew gave the character “Rehabilitation,” even if she didn’t speak much, and she says that’s an advantage in the Turkish theater industry.

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In the working situation between Lebanese and Syrian actors in “Crystal”, Rola Hamade gives the broad topic of cooperation and taking the other’s opinion into account. Having Pamela Al-Kig by his side reminded me of one of her most prominent roles in the 2013 series “Roots,” which brought the two actresses together.

“My heart is an immigrant”

Other series that influenced Rula Hamada’s avant-garde acting career loom large in memory, notably “The Storm Blows Twice” and “Woman in the Storm.” These two works made him the undisputed star of the nineties, and placed him at the top of the list of founding actors of modern Lebanese theater.

Then came “Family,” “And Sunrises,” “Peasant Revolt” and many other successful works, which established her as a pioneer among the actresses of her generation. Hamada did not limit his career to one or two roles as acting was his existence and drama was his playground. He has presented many of the plays he has written, and has hidden more texts in his drawers because “Lebanon’s financial challenges and current conditions do not allow for the creation of new works.”

Actress Rola Hamada became a television phenomenon in the series “The Storm Blows Twice” (Instagram).

Rula Hamada is nostalgic for Lebanon in the 1990s, not because she created a television event at the time, but because “the work continued, and Lebanon was in a state of development and economic stability.” She was tired of big dreams then. She had recently recovered from the collapse of the country, but despite that, she never thought of emigrating again. “I’m trying to get over what happened, but my heart is an immigrant, so my son left to study abroad at university.”

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On whether he’s ready for a new role after “Crystal,” Hamada says: “There’s talk right now, but I can’t reveal anything until the contract is in my hands.” Based on the rule that “words have no manners”, the actress is waiting for a window worthy of her unique dramatic look.

Pandora Bacchus
Pandora Bacchus
"Coffee evangelist. Alcohol fanatic. Hardcore creator. Infuriatingly humble zombie ninja. Writer. Introvert. Music fanatic."

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