Hiba al-Durri is an Egyptian actress who was raised in Kuwait and speaks in a fluent Kuwaiti accent. She started her acting career in 1996 with the play "Disclosure", which was the springboard for her rise as a Gulf star. The role opened doors for her to star in television dramas alongside famous Gulf actors.
She started in 1997 with the television series "The Last Decision", followed by several other projects in Kuwait and other Gulf countries.
Al-Shorfa met with al-Durri and talked about her development as an actress and her future projects.
Al-Shorfa: Can you tell us about your acting experience in the Gulf, especially since you come from an Egyptian family?
Hiba al-Durri: My experience in the Gulf region is unique, despite the fact that many feared that my Egyptian accent would override my Kuwaiti accent because of my nationality. They were shocked when they found out that I had completely mastered it.
I cannot draw a comparison between Gulf and Egyptian acting because each one has its own characteristics, but Kuwaiti art has reached the doorstep of all Arab countries.
Al-Shorfa: Viewers have noted that star-studded appearances have recently outnumbered the performances led by single star. Why is that?
Al-Durri: Audiences have become restless so they are no longer satisfied with just a single star. They would rather see many of their preferred stars, male or female, in one performance. This is why writers started producing scripts that involve several stars whose story lines merge to form one complete dramatic unit that entertains the audience and eliminates boredom.
Al-Shorfa: In your opinion, when an actor appears in more than one project at a time, does it affect the actor's performance?
Al-Durri: An actor's ability and focus is tested in these situations. When I take part in more than one performance, I am always careful to choose different characters to play and try to coordinate film shooting schedules so that I can properly portray the spirit of the characters.
It is important to undertake a thorough study of the work and not just one character. It is a process that elevates the actor to a degree of success and accomplishment. Then, there is the issue of not limiting my appearance to only one outlet.
Al-Shorfa: What do you mean?
Al-Durri: I do not want my audience to become bored, as if a channel has nothing to present except my work. This causes boredom and fragmentation, and I will lose credibility with the audience.
I am especially careful during the month of Ramadan when a variety of dramas are broadcasted. That is what happened this year when I presented three series during the month: "Bou Karim is Responsible for Seven Women", "Two in the Emergency Room" and "The Eagerness of the Soul".
Al-Shorfa: Why do you think the pace of development for cinema in Kuwait is slow?
Al-Durri: Despite the existence of great cinematic resources in Kuwait and the presence of many young Kuwaitis who are devoted to work that earned them many awards in Arab and international film festivals, producers still view cinema as a burden that they are unwilling to carry.
Films that are produced in the Gulf dialect only get marketed to Gulf countries and cannot find an Arab or an international market. That is why producers steer clear of producing films, so they do not lose their money.
Al-Shorfa: In addition to being an actress and a presenter, you also work as a lab technician. How do you manage these three professions?
Al-Durri: It requires a lot of time management, especially if I have to film outside of Kuwait and need to travel for long periods. My colleagues and supervisors at work appreciate the nature of my job as an actress and are a source of support and encouragement.