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The Blind in Cairo: Arts and Communication Department casts its nets wider


[photo]

Right before "invading" the Egyptian stage.


[photo]

A "blind" character sees a whole new world.

November 6, 2008—

Maurice Maeterlinck’s The Blind, a play about the fear of the unknown, opened its cast’s eyes to a new learning experience. The troupe, directed by Dr. Lina Abyad, took part in the 20th Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre October 16–21.

According to Abyad, this was the first participation of a major LAU production in such a big event that gathered groups from about 45 countries around the world.

The troupe included a mix of backgrounds—academic and otherwise—united as part of Theater in Performance, an LAU course taught by Abyad.

Although regular students sign up for it and work towards producing a play, auditions are open to everyone. This gives them the chance to come to the university for three months and benefit from the course, and occasionally from something extra, like a ticket to the Cairo festival covered in full by LAU.

The Blind was the product of teamwork among all those enrolled in the course, according to Abyad. “This is LAU’s service to the community,” and an act against the commonly held view that the university is an island, she said. “This integrates the whole community in the process of artistic production, and has it bubbling,” she added.

Although the play had been performed at least 10 times on campus as this year’s spring major theater production, putting it together again was no piece of cake. “Three major actors were not able to make it to Egypt,” said Abyad. “So we had 10 days to replace them, which was no easy task. It required a huge amount of hard work, but we got through in the end,” she added.

The troupe won no prizes, but to them, that’s insignificant. Going to Egypt was “an amazing experience,” said Lama Marashly, a radio/TV/film senior. “We were so lucky to have met and gotten feedback from professional acting troupes” that were the festival’s major competitors, she added.

The Department of Arts and Communication is bustling in preparation for its two annual major productions and yearly International University Theatre Festival. “Whatever happens, the show must go on,” said Abyad.


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