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Drama students bring The Maids to Gulbenkian stage

Theater goers were delighted by the spectacular set, creative costumes, intrigue and imagination that characterized student Rasha Shiha’s interpretation of The Maids, presented last month in Beirut as part of the Play Production II course taught by Dr. Lina Abyad Nassar.


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The Maids is one of the many theater productions prepared and presented by LAU students every academic year.

Theater goers were delighted by the spectacular set, creative costumes, intrigue and imagination that characterized student Rasha Shiha’s interpretation of The Maids, presented last month in Beirut as part of the Play Production II course taught by Dr. Lina Abyad Nassar.

Real life sisters Lina and Rasha Joukhadar play sister maids Claire and Solange. Their mistress is mentioned in conversations but never seen on the stage.

The action takes place within a cultural context of wide social gaps between rich and poor. The sisters’ secret mocking of their mistress is their way of manifesting a deep jealousy of her. The set, a stage within a stage, was cleverly designed to underscore their exaggerated imitations of the woman.

The sisters successfully plot the imprisonment of the mistress’s lover and revel in her despair. Later, they imagine ways to kill her. The plan to poison her falls through when her lover is released from prison, and Claire takes imitation to a fatal extreme.

“I wanted to present the absurdity of life and theater, to mix reality with absurdity, because sometimes reality creates contradiction,” said Shiha about her choices. She doubled as director and set designer.

The young director’s adaptation of Jean Genet’s play ran 35 minutes, but took two semesters to complete, starting with modifying the script, selecting the production staff, and perfecting the performance. Rehearsals were held every day for one month.

Shiha was clearly pleased with the results: “Everything I wanted in a play was done; it was perfect,” she said.

LAU’s School of Arts and Sciences offers numerous student-produced plays, as well as two major productions, throughout the year. Watch the university’s calendar of events to stay abreast of upcoming performances.

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