Nazl el sourour

Nazl el sourour

Nazl el-Sourour
Written by Ziad Rahbani
Date premiered 1974
Original language Arabic
Genre comedy, political satire

Nazl el-Sourour (also spelled Nazl es-Surur, Nazel el-Surour, etc; Arabic: نزل السرور‎, literally "Happiness Hotel") is a musical play created by lebanese playwright and composer Ziad Rahbani.[1]



  • Ziad Rahbani
  • Joseph Sakr
  • Samy Hawat
  • Carmen Lebbos
  • Pierre Gemegian

Plot Summary

Zakaria (Ziad) is an unemployed and penniless horse-racing betting addict. He is kicked out from his house by his wife and forced to choose a poor-man's motel called Nazl es-Surur.

Much to his dismay, the motel is raided by two laid out factory workers during his first night stay. The insurgents Abbas and Fahed, armed with machine guns and dynamite take the residents hostage. Abbas and Fahed were fired from their work because they were pushing coworkers to go on strike and they chose to take a "revolutionary" approach. Things go downhill from there on.[1][2][3]


Nazl es-Surur was Ziad's second play after Sahriyya (An evening's celebration - 1973) but unlike the Rahbani movement conforming Sahriyya, Nazl es-Surur came to stand in contrast to the prevalent folklore orientation and theatricality of the works of his parents; it marked Ziad's ideological and artistic definitive break from the Rahbani school of thought.[1][4]

The play was considered as an augury to the Lebanese Civil War which erupted in 1975, but Ziad himself rejected this view, affirming that it was based on a real life incident, the taking of hostages at the Beirut branch of the Bank of America.[1]

Although made in 1974, the play is still popular among Lebanese people and in the Arabic world notably for its songs and script; in fact Ziad had introduced a new kind of language-based humor that was unprecedented in Lebanese theater.[citation needed] Fragments of dialogue from Nazl es-Surur and later Ziad plays continue to be used today and have become a part of the Lebanese pop-culture.[citation needed]The "Zakaria" character reappears with his wife "Souraya" in the 1978 play Bennesbe la bokra shou? (What do we need to do tomorrow?).[4]

This play was Ziad's first real appearance, which was performed in Cinema Oerly theater.[citation needed] Fairouz was impressed by the song "Ba'atelak" (which reminds us of the period of the late Egyptian singer Mounira El Mahdeya), to the extent that she re-taped that song with her voice after it was sang by a second class singer in the beginning of the seventies.[3][4]


  1. ^ a b c d Stone, Christopher Reed (2008). Popular culture and nationalism in Lebanon: the Fairouz and Rahbani nation. Routledge. ISBN 9780203939321. 
  2. ^ Rahbani, Ziad (1994). "نزل السرور". نزل السرور. University of Michigan. Retrieved October 11, 2011. (Arabic)
  3. ^ a b Nazel el sourour summary
  4. ^ a b c Chiaro, Delia; Elzeer, Nada (2010). Translation, Humour and Literature - Language-based humor and the untranslatable: The case of Ziad Rahbani's theatre. Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 9781441158239. 

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