Survivor’s Remorse by Habib Siam – Montreal May 27th

“By July 2019, the situation in Lebanon had already taken a turn. The emotional weight of watching your country collapse, from a distance, is difficult to articulate. You become mentally and emotionally tethered to a place so far removed from your physical surroundings. Not just in geographic distance, but in the experiences that dictate the daily realities in two separate worlds – realities that could not stand in sharper contrast. Your body slowly adjusts to Beirut time, despite the 7-hour difference. Depression morphs to despair. And at no point do you allow yourself to validate these feelings, because, well, you’re here, and not there. All of this, as the boundaries between space and time begin to blur, and ultimately collapse. After the August 4 blast, the distance became untenable.”

“With my entire family still in Lebanon, I have since split my time between Canada and home. Every return to Toronto has been increasingly difficult – forcing me to reconcile the constant distress in one place with the unperturbed sense of normalcy in the other. Dogs on a leash. Frisbees in the park. None of it seems real. Almost nothing does. And at times, I’ve felt on the verge of a psychotic break.”

“This is what my stand-up has become about – me processing what a lot of people described as trauma, trying to make sense of a world that is increasingly unrecognizable. Grief; loss; despair; packaged into a comedic experience. Personally, I felt broken. But artistically, I found a new voice and took on a new responsibility. I needed to tell our story. I needed to try to sensitize audiences, to make people care. That was, and still remains, the only sense of hope I could find in any of this. And that impetus became the genesis of this project: Survivor’s Remorse.”

These are the words of stand-up comic Habib Siam. Survivor’s Remorse is a 75-min special about home, identity, and spending a little too much time in the woods. Habib revisits the recent events in Lebanon, the accompanying sense of loss, and the difficulties trying to exist in two worlds, “here” and “there”, whose realities stand in such contrast. This is a show where grief meets (a lot of) laughter.

Born on Christmas day, a stone’s throw from Bethlehem, Habib thought he was the second coming and almost entered the priesthood. Several countries and questionable life decisions later, he completed a Ph.D. at McGill University only to start doing stand-up comedy. Habib has headlined clubs internationally and performed in multiple languages. He currently splits his time between Canada and Lebanon, and may (definitely) own more shoes than anyone you know.

This event is in collaboration with POP Montreal and is part of a 3-city tour that includes Ottawa (May 24) and Toronto (May 31).

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