Widely known as “Qatary”, the TCS (Theatre & Cinema School) actor, Mohamed Habib, a 28- Pharmacy student at the GUC, has participated in a theater workshop in “The Middle East Theatre Academy” in Al Sharjah, UAE at the first days of this year . Magnificently enough, Qatary was chosen to participate in the workshop by the Oscar-winning Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey himself, and Insider had the chance to do an interview with the chosen TCS actor.
Our first question was how he got to know about the workshop, to which “Qatary” answered that a fellow TCSian had posted on the TCS group that there was a chance to perform with Kevin Spacey, in collaboration with The Middle East Theatre Academy, and that they were looking for 35 young actors from the Middle East.
“I submitted the two-minute video they asked for, and two days later, the director Matt Wilde contacted me for a Skype interview, where he and 3 other collaborators on the project asked me why I chose this style for the video as they had liked it. There was a common tragedy script for all the applicants, I was the only one who added a sarcastic touch . They also asked me about my experience in acting, my physical health state and my major/education. The next day, I got the news that I was accepted, and they told me to get my papers ready; to travel and participate in a two-week theater workshop in The Middle East Theatre Academy in Al Sharjah, UAE,” Qatary added.
The purpose of the workshop was to prepare the actors for a play that was to be performed on the 26th and 27th January 2015. But as Qatary explained, they first had to go through a 4-day workshop attended by Kevin Spacey, about directing, writing, and body language on stage. That was followed by 4 days of rehearsals, then they worked on the script and the characters’ distribution. Finally, after 7 days of 12-hour rehearsals, they were ready to perform.
We then asked Qatary to tell us more about the play. “The main theme of the play was: Happiness versus Guarantee. The plot was about some Syrian refugees whose cities have been destroyed in a flood. The protagonist was a girl who wanted to build a device that would protect them from the upcoming flood. Throughout the play there were two guys who loved her and she had to make a choice between them. She could either go with the sincere guy who would make her happy, or the rich one who would guarantee her a more secure life, there was also the question of whether or not she would be able to build the device that would save them all.”
What made the play special, according to Qatary, was that it had Arab actors from 22 different countries, and they all had different dialects, which added a “unique flavor” to the play.
What stood out, though, for Qatary, was the final scene of the play: “The director blacked out the whole stage, and only one light was directed on the two lovers, and all the other actors came up from behind them and sang “Nasam Aalayna Al Hawa” together. It was so touching; it gave us all goosebumps; even Kevin Spacey got up on stage with us and teared up!”
When we asked him about other special moments that he would keep with him forever, Qatary recounted some moments he really treasured, “When Matt Wilde, the director, first saw my audition, he encouraged me to take a further step and pursue the acting field.”
Qatary explained that people were surprised when they knew he was a Pharmacy student who had only been acting for one year, while most of the other actors were Theatre graduates and had been acting for at least 3 years.
“One of my very best moments, though, was after I read my line on stage. Kevin Spacey liked my performance so much that he highfived me!”
All things considered, Qatary asserted that he is really happy that he has been through this experience, and that he would have never made it were it not for the help and support of his fellow TCSians.