Hierarchy of needs

Which needs are universal? And which are relative?

About one year ago, the director Mattias Andersson received a dramatic text from Adel Darwish. The text was direct, poetic and bewildering. Written in the midst of a chaotic present featured by war, frontiers and borders between people. From that text, Mattias Andersson creates a visual, musical and choreographical performance piece, modulated with the attitudes, feelings and conflicts of our mutual present.

Adel Darwish is an actor who came to Sweden from Syria Aleppo three years ago. The text has written shifts from reality to fantasy in three different time dimensions. What has happened and what will happen? Who is alive, who is dead? Is present and past always attendant in the future. Which needs are relative and which are universal?

In the performance we see – apart from Adel Darwish himself – three actors from Backa Teater, two professional dancers and five young people who used to live somewhere else but now live in Gothenburg, Sweden. The choreography is developed in collaboration with Twisted Feet.


Atlas of transitions

The performance is the Swedish contribution to the project Atlas of transitions - new geographies for a cross cultural Europe and a collaboration between Backa Teater and the urban dance company Twisted Feet.

Atlas of Transitions (2017-2020)is funded by the EU programme Creative Europe.

Age limit
14 years
1 hour 40 minutes
80-250 kr

Hierarchy of needs turns a visit to Backa Teater into a basic need.

Dagens Nyheter

With an open and light way of acting, an investigative approach to the essence of theatre and through repetitive retakes, a poignant discussion on life and death is created. Constantly in relation to the parallel Syrian reality (or fiction) appearing on flickering screens.

Dagens Nyheter

Different time zones, places and artistic expressions are simultaneously present together with an urge to cross the barriers between then and now, rulers and the people. The intention might sound pretentions, and had not been possible without the effortless acting style mastered by the ensemble.

Dagens Nyheter

It is as if the entire play is momentarily created in front of our eyes and finally becomes a choreographed antiphonal about communication. Especially the ending is impressive with its dancing and the way in which the set design makes the ceiling and the floor exchange places. On a theatre stage anything can happen and be investigated.

Svenska Dagbladet

The debutant Adel Darwish has written a multilayered, stubborn and heartbreaking script on humanity with tentacles straight into the war in Syria. It isn’t easily approached, but challenging and strong.


Darwish has high ambitions and a strong belief in his storytelling. He shows great confidence in the young audience of Backa Teater. The intense dialogue and the many repetitions could very well have become pretentious matter, but that is avoided not least through low key humour, for example when the ensemble makes itself known in the middle of the audience.


The set design is litterally woken to life when the roof sinks to a claustrophobic level and a group of young dancers take over the floor. The masterly street dance company Twisted Feet are behind the choreography, a heavy hybrid of modern and hip hop. The dancers move together in what has transformed into a symbolic, sinister sea of plastic. The end scene is approaching, and won’t have left anyone untouched.


The young playwright Darwish’ lines seem to fit the actors well and it is all through played with perfect pitch by everyone on stage. It is also clever how Darwish uses the theatre to engineer conditions within the politics of migration. Like when the actors suddenly demands to see ”papers” from each other that will proove that they are actors. When such documents are missing they continue by forcing each other to perform somehting that would show that they have indeed worked as actors, something which is of course impossible.


The playwright Adel Darwish impresses with his unpredictable and boundless debut on needs, power and being human. It is founded in the serious but several absurd elements makes it very funny.

Borås Tidning

Reality is set against philosophy, what is said against what is done. Often it is very funny, with rapid turns and unexpected linguistic twists but also with lots of recognition. The absurd is predominant but the gravity is allways present, both in general human needs and in the recurring insertions from Syria.

Borås Tidning


Av Adel Darwish Regi Mattias Andersson Scenografi Maja Kall Dramaturg Stefan Åkesson Koreografi Denny Hultén / Twisted Feet Kostym Helena Arvidsson O'Byrne Kompositör Kristina Issa, Jonas Redig Ljud Jonas Redig Ljus och video Tomas Heyman Mask Josefin Ekerås Skådespelare Adel Darwish, Rasmus Lindgren, Josefin Neldén, Ramtin Parvaneh Dansare Marcel Gomes, Aleksandra Jovic Dessutom medverkar Nermin Asheti, Ali Ktit, Yafet Melake, Alieksander Okbatsion , Iman Rasho Medverkande i video Obay Alskoja , Milad Alsahwy, Ahmad Katrib, Lugen Skouzam, Diana Tayara, Noorvan Bourhan, George Eid Regiassistent Felicia Stjärnsand

Image Atlas of Transition workshop

Atlas of Transitions