At the beginning of those Ramadan series that we are passionate about, her name will appear to announce to us implicitly that we are expecting art! The drama that Heba presented somehow redefined the standards of television content that is close to our Gulf reality. Heba is talented and has proven herself in the field. Heba is a child dreaming and working hard to realize her dreams; and if not all her dreams come true, she works harder to spread happiness and be happy.
- Who is Heba Hamade? If you want to summarize your childhood and journey, what would you choose to say?
I’m the short distance between my mother and father, all I know about myself is that I transferred everything into a game; the blue quilts were my ocean, the pillows were walls to my small houses, the walls were my canvas, the overturned salts were clouds, and the shower was a flood. I’m from a generation that didn’t substitute conversations with Emojis thus I communicate as well as I breathe. Our generation is so different; we had to come up with entertainment as we played with our hands and feet. We used to live the moment noticing a snail passing by, flipping it and touching it; noting the birds nest in a garden and developing imaginary conversations between them. I used to place my favorite toys outside of my window before I go to school and when I return home, I pretend that I’m seeing them for the first time and that they want to come into my room and live with me to escape the frightening outside world. I also used to think that there are tiny people living inside our bodies; it would rain when we drink water, their crops will grow when we eat, and their houses will shake like an earthquake when we run. The science class was such a disappointment for my imagination especially when we learned about the digestive and respiratory system; the tiny people village vanished. We used to wait to watch cartoons daily on a specific timing. I grew up in a large family which a sweet grandma who used to sit in the corner and pray.
- Is talent – any talent – born with us is derived from experience and life?
The mind as I have recently discovered is different of what I have perceived for it was my imagination tool then I found out that it is the biggest devious organ. If you simply change some letter’s sequences in the word then you are asked to read it; you will read it with ease without noticing any change. This is because the brain’s job is to fill gaps with solution thus making everything seem normal. The problem is that we trained ourselves to accept our initial perception of things or have retrained the solution from previous experience. Who is not satisfied from previously developed answers? The mere discussions that are considered intuitive are foreseen as intellectual nonsense; this is the problem. We are all born with imagination and doubt like children who explorers freely digging plants, breaking eggs and always looking for surprises. This all stops when the brain starts adapting to the general picture and start restricting their imagination; we are all born talented until we become normal.
- What’s your story with Literature, Poetry, and Witting? How did it all start?
Nothing was ever discovered; it was nothing like research or carving, it was something completely different. I used to read to save myself from political news, mathematics, and the flue which was like my shadow; then reading became an essential part of my life. At first, I used to believe what I read then I started loving what I read. Nowadays, I only deliberate the book, I don’t believe or discredit, love or hate; I just treat the book as delicious apple which I enjoy eating. I discovered that thoughts are meant to be deliberated not believed. To be honest, I don’t remember when I started writing and it’ not strange that I don’t remember since it’s an impulsive reaction. Writing is as easy as breathing, and I write about everything which makes it my escape from reality to my imaginary world where I could paint my skies and trees.
- I know you have been different from a young age; there is something special about young Heba and everyone who knew you saw that, how do you explain this?
I have always believed and still believe that we are intruders to the world, we have the illusion everything is ours while we are merely momentary borrowing the land and the air this we must respect the existence of plants and animals and their right on this planet. I started thinking this way when I was very young and probably this was the difference. While all children wanted to be taller, wear large cloth and act like adults; I was proud to be a child and I still am.
- What is the role your parents played in shaping your talent?
I have been raised in a household that any child could be innovative. My parents never told me that I have to study to get a job so I can have a decent living. All parents have education as a main concern since knowledge is power. I never went to school to get answers but because I had so many questions; this is what I was taught at home. The book is information and this information must be questioned continuously. In our house, the book has the same sanctity of television in other people’s houses. Now when I grew older and became a mom, I discovered that parenting is a super mission and parents are superheroes.
I was raised to accept the other and share thoughts and overcome differences; this is the best thinking my mom and dad gave me. If I have ever accomplished anything; it’s their doing and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them
- What is your past knowledge of Kuwaiti Drama before you came part of it? What were your impressions and what did you like about it?
Kuwaiti Drama was my happy space; I was one of those children who had a small laboratory to compete is “Khalati Kamasha”. I also remember that I had the complete set “To Dad and Mom with love” bought it from my Eid savings from Al Wissam shop. I continued to watch “Peace on Earth”, “Waraqiah”, “Sebaike”, “Daress Khoususi” and “Dareb El Zaleq” then I liked Abdel Amir El Terky writings and Abdel Hussein.
I loved all the theatrical work of Al Nafissi and Saed Farrah which had exceptional freedom to politics back then. I loved the work of Ahmed Baqer who I believe was exceptional and not appreciated in Kuwait. My cousins and I used to watch (Kamel Al Awsaf, Madinat Al Riyah, Alaa Eldine, Bader El Zaman, Al Ibrique Al Maksour) during Ramadan before breaking fast; we used to each choose a character and reincarnate it after the show.
It was a beautiful time where censorship at that time took care of community’s taste and not force them on meals that is free from salt, sugar and is preserved. What was not to like in that Drama!
- It is said that Heba started writing because the current productions are weak; is this true?
Not true at all! Who am I to judge the Drama productions? I went into writing because I love Drama. There was no gap to fill and no weakness to make it better; I started writing because I have something to write about.
- Did you feel that there some neglected messages in Modern Drama? If so, what are these messages?
I don’t believe in messages! You can’t consider a ballet dance or oil painting or any art as material for awareness; this is not expected from art. Art in general and categories that fall under it like Kuwait Drama is to create an event that astonishes us. These momentary astonishments that give us questions, grief, laughter, happiness, and anger; art is a mental concussion where the recipient no longer needs a Drama production to complete his mental, economic or sociological awareness. The writer’s purpose today is to slouch; to inform and not and make you skeptical and contradict the expectation of a successful show. It is a mental game based on electing and eliminating events in an unexpected way.
“I don’t expect…. I Dream”. I plunge myself in writing and come out of it dreaming of success and not expecting it. All who knows me knows that I don’t admit triumph because I’m afraid of what will come next.
- Heba started acting with the Pyramids of Kuwaiti Drama and that’s the reason she succeeded and not her scripts. How do you answer this?
Accusations are better overcome than answered, I have never answered to allegations in my life. I realize that success is a social game that includes a writer, director, actor, musician, and a producer and the production cannot be made without any of these players. As for my beginning with the pyramids of the gulf drama (Suad”&Hayat), it wasn’t lucked as much as it was a horrible choice. Both Suad and Hayat had 40 years of experience while I had only one pilot; they were successful way before I was born and they didn’t need any reassurance. On the other hand, I was at stake and the writer who works with successful people isn’t blessed as much he is followed and monitored.
- You have worked with Suad Abdulla frequently and you have created scripted for her that excelled, why did you choose Suad? What did you see in her?
In fact, I find the question to be deceptive a bit; I’m not qualified to choose Suad. Suad is the person that chose me, probably because I’m adventurous or maybe we have a common sense of social awareness when it comes to Drama. I see in Suad is a person that competes with the writer in the script; she loves what she reads and reads what she loves and impersonates the character perfectly. We have our differences and my love for her grows and I wish her luck in her future work.
- The Kuwait audience passionately follows your work then comes criticism, how do you deal with the negative critics?
The writers only need the controversy of acceptance; rejecting a dramatic event or story direction is not considered a negative critic but purely an emotional interaction where the writer prevaricate the recipient and changes his beliefs when it comes to his personal perception of the story. We have reached a crucial recipient phase where the viewer is no longer focusing of receiving, accepting or entertaining of the show but by actively consuming the scenes. The viewer nowadays uses the social media to share his opinion and corresponds with others regarding the show; this was not as common in the past; where the show was the talk of the weekly gathering and now the series has become an instantaneous analysis.
- You are upset from censorship, in your point of view what drives them to tighten the scope of drama creativity and literature in Kuwait?
I don’t expect anything new from Drama today while censorship is cutting scenes without any explicit reasons and I wish that no one undermine our social awareness and moral standards. We take into consideration the common restraints when we write since it represents God and religion. The censorship today has a different agenda and they imagine that our mission is to compress the viewer’s awareness and thus asks us to present a false image of Kuwait society. To them, there are no employees that take bribes, men don’t fall in love, school teachers can’t be unequipped or careless, and there are no thieves and no one that trades in residencies. All these topics are prohibited without exceptions because in the opinion of the censorship it harms society and exposes the ministry to being questioned in the parliament. All of these topics have been presented since the 70s with freedom such as “Ruqaiah and Sabika case”, “Al Tajasosu fie Khalati Kmasha”. Can the viewer imagine how lucky were the dramatic production to be produced in a different censorship age?
14- كنت نشطة جدا في بداية انطلاقتك واعمالك متواجدة بشكل سنوي، ثم تباطئت عملية الإنتاج لدى هبة، ما السبب؟
دخل التأني الى حياتي بشكل عام وليس في الكتابة فقط ، لقد ادركت بأنني أريد ان اقول شيئا جديدا لقد فرغت من الارضية الاجتماعية التي اعمل بها منذ فتره وبدا لي ان الوقت مناسب للبحث عن جغرافية كتابية اخرى، لذا ذهبت الى الخمسينات وكتبت عمل القاهرة وما زال نائما في الرقابة منذ اربعة اشهر حتى خرج من السباق الرمضاني، انا اكتب عملا دراميا واحدا في السنه تقريبا، ولما اغيب أكون قد فضلت ابقاء الكرسي فارغا عن ملئه بنسخه مكررة . تمر الدراما بمنعطف خطير لا يعرف المشاهد عنه شيئا هناك سقف انتاجي معين لهذه السنه، بسبب ضعف القدرة الشرائية لدى القنوات لاسباب تتعلق بالتبعات السياسية والاقتصادية لظروف المنطقة وهذا يعني تقنين عام في المحتوى الانتاجي الخليجي وتلك مشكله أخرى غير الرقابة.
“القاهرة عمل استثنائي يحتاج الى وقت وتمويل مناسب لاعتبارات انتاجية لا يمكن تصويره في شهرين كما يحدث الآن”
- At first, you were very active and you had a production every year, then you slowed down; what happened?
I took a step backward in my life and not only in writing. I discovered that I have something new to say. Thus I went back to the fifties and wrote Cairo which is still pending censorship for four months now. This set back caused me to be out of Ramadan season. I only work on one script per year and if I’m absent thus it means I didn’t have anything new to add. The drama is passing through a rough turn and there is a specific topic production this month.
“Cairo is an exceptional work that needs effort and funding; and for certain productive aspects, it cannot be filmed in two months”
- What are the messages that you always include in your work?
Recently my fixation is accepting others. Every person born on earth inherits the beliefs and ideas of his family; we are part of this big world and we should recognize that we share the oxygen and earth with everyone. That is basically what I would like to include in all my future work.
- What is the difference between Writing for a Drama series and writing a theatrical? Which one you prefer?
There is nothing identical between them. I love Drama as I love reading a good book and I love theater as I love playing. The theater is a living reality and nothing changes its factors. I cannot talk about theater in general since I work in an exceptional theater “Zain”; which to me is like a daily visit to the family house. I love theater a lot because it gives me the right to observe my viewers, to see the amusement in the children’s face and their interaction with their moms.
- You exclusively work with May Al Saleh, what the secret? Is there an intellectual and creative harmony?
Well if I was the black magic hat; then definitely May is the magician. She inspires me in many ways. Before every Ramadan commercial for Zain, she says this year we are going to do something incredible and I believe her. May, Bashaar, and I work in the same company where May dreams, I write and Bashaar composes.
- Do you have any production for Ramadan?
I had the Cairo project which is still under censorship even though four months has passed; which is the work of many producers. I will be a viewer this year and I will enjoy rereading my work and putting the final touches on shooting for next season.
- What is the work that you are proud of and is the highlight of your work?
I haven’t written it yet
- Did Heba realize her dream or there is more?
No, I haven’t realized my dream yet. I’m in the process of labor; there is a lot still to learn. Every day I delete part of the painting and draw new parts. I love this anxiety when writing; it makes me unsatisfied with my writings all the time.
- You are a poet and a writer, is there a book coming soon?
I’m writing my first novel and I hope I’m able to publish it soon; to be honest it resembles me a lot.
- What are your future endeavors?
I just finished Cairo work and Zain theatrical, I am also working on my novel which is taking all my time. I don’t like to do more than one thing at a time.
- As a wife, mother, and accomplished, what you want as your legacy?
I want to be Happy… I want happiness in everything that is really what I want for me and my children
- Other Thoughts?
I used to care to be seen… Now all I care is to see