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Past is Present in Zurich: Family Business as Usual?

Past is PresentFilmmaker Shaheen Dill-Riaz and the talented group around theater director Corinne Maier will perform their play Past is Present in the city of Zurich the upcoming weekend. The documentary play, which premiered earlier this year focuses on the exceptional family life of Shaheen, whose family is scattered over five countries spanning four continents.

What does “family” mean nowadays? Do all members of a family have to speak the same language, adhere to similar values or even live nearby? And will the traditional concept of “family” survive in our globalized world?

Filmmaker Shaheen Dill-Riaz has been living in the city of Berlin, Germany for over two decades. Both his parents live in his native country of Bangladesh. His brother lives in New York. His sister in Sydney. And his own son is living in Warsaw, Poland.

Gessnerallee Zürich: «PAST IS PRESENT» from Gessnerallee Zürich.

Having shot several documentary films on topics revolving around Bangladesh, Shaheen finally turns inwards in an attempt to come to terms with his family life. With actress Anne Haug at his side, Shaheen dissects his inner-self on stage and delves into the existential issues that provided the inspiration for his very own and personal play. Often, those pose more questions than they answer.

“What does my family mean to me? Am I truly there for them if they need me? And if so, where exactly would they need me?”

em>Past is Present drives Shaheen Dill-Riaz’ soul-searching intent home forcefully, and yet the play is no drama or a farewell on traditional family life. It’s a thoughtful take on how modern family experiences in a global world may look like.

Interview (in German) with Shaheen in Deutschland Radio Kultur am 12.12.2013


Past is Present review at
Article and interview at SPIEGEL ONLINE

Past is Present tour dates

Gessnerallee Zürich
Fr. 14.6. um 20.00
Sa. 15.6. um 20.00
Tickets: +41 (0)44 2258111

TAK Theater Liechtenstein
Mi. 02.10. um 20.09
Do. 03.10. um 14.00
Tickets: +423 2375969

Photo: Brigitte Fässler/