Abu Sharia in "Freedom Door for Prisoners"
Gaza – Mohammed Habib
Arabstoday has secured an interview with the Gazan theatrical comedian, Izz al-Din Abu Sharia
Arabstoday: Who is Izz al-Din Abu Sharia?
My name is Izz al-Din Abu Sharia. I am 38 years-old, married and have a son and four daughters. I was born in Jabalya refugee camp, north of the Gaza Strip. I have adored acting and singing Islamic songs since childhood. I used to take part in school plays and I also excelled in several competitions in this field.
Arabstoday: How did your career start?
It began in school and Ibad Ar-Rahman mosque, in north Gaza Strip. I was an Islamic singer with a number of young men at the mosque from 1987 to 1988. Then I moved to the theatre. Singer Ahmed Halawa offered us work which was my first introduction to theatre.
Arabstoday: What are the main difficulties in your work?
The difficulties are the indifference of the media and the Ministry of Culture, and lack of competent authorities and funding agencies for the arts. We are suffering marginalisation to a great extent. I once met with Saad Kareem, the head of the Art Association, and asked him to set up an association or union for artists and he accepted that idea and submitted a report to the Ministry of Culture. The Association was founded later under the chairmanship of Zakaria Zain al-Din. After that, elections took place and Saad Kareem won.
Arabstoday: What can you tell our readers about your work for Radio al-Aqsa?
I have done several pieces for Radio al-Aqsa. It was my colleague Nabil el-Khatib who discovered my talent for imitating sounds on "Aneen el-Qalb" (Beating of the Heart), a programme on Radio al-Aqsa.
Arabstoday: What is the reason behind your success?
i would say it is touching reality and pursuing current themes in my work.
Arabstoday: Do you have a plan to develop your career and improve yourself?
Myself and others are putting sustained efforts into seeking out advanced courses. However, the problem of indifference and lack of interest is still there. We are also trying to get together with other Arab artists but in a personal and informal way.
Arabstoday: What are the most focussed issues in your work?
We as artists are concentrating on certain issues in order to raise awareness such as the divisions within our society, prisoners rights and the right of return for refugees.