LAU celebrates World Theatre Day
April 9, 2010—
In pictures —
LAU joined the rest of the world on March 26 to celebrate World Theatre Day with replays of two student plays from earlier this year, one new student production, and the presentation of a visiting production, on the Beirut campus.
The event was an exercise for the students, says Dr. Mona Knio, associate professor in LAU’s Communication Arts Department that organized the event. Since LAU student plays show only once — and a lot of hard work goes into producing them — the event gave the students the opportunity to show their work again, and more importantly to improve, Knio explains.
First held in 1962 worldwide, World Theatre Day aims to bring together the international theater community. Every year, a figure in theater or outstanding in heart and spirit from another field shares a message about theater and international harmony. This year’s figure was Dame Judi Dench.
Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza
The replay of student theater production Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza was performed outside the Safadi Fine Arts Building in the morning.
The play is directed by LAU communication arts student Fuad Halwani, and based on a script written by English playwright Caryl Churchill in 2009.
It consists of seven scenes describing 70 years of events in recent Jewish history, including the Holocaust, Jewish immigration to Palestine, the creation of Israel, the expulsion of Palestinian Arabs, the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the dispute over water, the First Intifada, the building of the West Bank barrier, Palestinian suicide attacks, Hamas rocket attacks, and the 2008 bombings of Gaza.
Director Halwani uses ladders symbolically, as they are “a tool of elevation and progress — an upward transition; it is the mother and the soil we use to grow. If cultivated, the land is home, but when exploited the mutilation of the land is the only hope for survival.”
Nos Nseis, performed and directed by Ahmad Al Aydi, an LAU architecture student, and Ma’moun Frayji was presented on a special stage outside the Safadi Fine Arts Building, following the first play.
Nos Nseis is not an LAU student production, but produced by Al Jana – Arab Resource Center for Popular Arts, with which Al Aydi and Frayji have worked for years.
The performance at LAU was a part of a series of plays about the character “Nos Nseis,” which means mini person in Arabic. The character uses comedy to talk to usually young audiences about school, friends, and accepting differences. The play presented at LAU focused on the dangers of peer pressure, cigarette smoking and drugs.
The next play of the day was a new LAU student production, Dangerous Angels, which was performed in Gulbenkian Theatre in the afternoon.
Dangerous Angels is based on a script by Asian-American playwright Scott C. Sickles and directed by LAU student Layal Salman.
Written in 1931, the play portrays a family funeral reception and reveals truths about issues of family, death, sexuality, incest and religion through the members’ interactions.
The taboos addressed in the play are similar to those found in Lebanese society according to director Salman, who says “issues of sexuality and incest are never discussed and are therefore hidden forever.”
The replay of student production The Lesson was performed outdoors in the evening, in front of the Irwin Hall arches.
Written by absurdist Eugene Ionesco, The Lesson is about a girl who tries to get a doctorate degree by taking a lesson in mathematics and philology. It ends with a tragedy because the communication between the student and teacher fails.
LAU student Soha Shukayr, who directed the play, aims to show her audience that we see absurdity every day, specifically pointing out the way those in power proclaim freedom of speech, but in reality they only want their opinions to be adopted.
The audience enjoys The Lesson outdoors.
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