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LAU plays draw crowds in Cairo

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A scene from Kafka, His Father, the Boss, the Wolf, and the Pigs, an LAU major production directed by Dr. Lina Abyad, which was performed during the 22nd Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre.

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Guantanamo, The Meaning of Waiting, an LAU student production directed by Farah Shaer, was also presented at the festival.

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Guantanamo takes a critical look at the effects of incarceration on the wives of Guantanamo inmates.

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Kafka focuses on the strained relationship of Bohemian/Czech writer Franz Kafka and his belittling father.

Click on any photo above to view all four images.

November 11, 2010—

Theatergoers turned out in droves to watch two hard-hitting LAU productions performed during the 22nd Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre, held from October 10-20 in Egypt.

The plays included Kafka, His Father, the Boss, the Wolf, and the Pigs, LAU’s spring 2010 major production directed by Dr. Lina Abyad, LAU assistant professor of theater, and Guantanamo, The Meaning of Waiting, an LAU student production directed by Farah Shaer, a third-year communication arts major (radio/TV/film emphasis).

“We performed both nights to a full house,” says Shaer, who at 23 claims to have been the youngest director at the festival. Her team of actors represented the youngest theater group among the dozens that assembled in Cairo for the festival.

Shaer’s play, which was first performed in May at LAU, is based on a collection of interviews with the wives of Guantanamo Bay prison inmates published in Guantanamo: ‘Honor Bound to Defend Freedom,a book co-written by journalist Victoria Brittain and novelist Gillian Slovo.

Shaer says she chose to base her play on the book because it gave her the opportunity to confront audiences with topics she finds most relevant: feminism and war.

“It’s a theme I always incorporate in all my projects,” she says. “The book gave me the ability to expand and create scenes — It’s not a classic or ordinary play where the writers do the directing.”

The play takes a critical look at the effects of incarceration on the families of inmates. The actresses, representing the wives of Guantanamo inmates, wear Niqabs during the first half of the play, before they change to orange prisoner uniforms while reminiscing about their beloved husbands.

“They started to talk about their suffering and the audience realized that it’s not just the husbands that are prisoners, but the wives too are prisoners deep inside.”

The Guantanamo team consisted of seven students including five cast members (Shaer, Reem Al Halaby, Nour Hassan, Nada Khoury and Rindala Haddad) and two stage directors (Johnny Abdo and Mira Al Assad).

Kafka, first performed in May at LAU, focuses on the strained relationship of Bohemian/Czech writer Franz Kafka and his belittling father.

Most of the actors in Kafka are LAU students, although major productions allow actors from outside LAU to take part.

Abyad values the opportunity to travel with her students as it forces them out of their comfort zones and teaches them to adapt to new settings.

“It’s a very good experience for students to travel, learning even simple things like taking responsibility for the costumes, the props, how to pack and unpack,” she says. “You go there, you adapt to a new space, to the lighting, with different people, a different technical crew, and a different kind of audience.”


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