Lebanese American University


Al Bustan Festival comes to LAU

A series of events including a rendition of Romeo and Juliet and two workshops are hosted at LAU Beirut as part of the annual festival’s program. The play will run on March 9 and 10.

Italian actor and author Antonio Fava talks about the history of Commedia dell'Arte, a 17th and 18th-century European art craft, before inviting students on stage for the workshop.

Fava displays a few of his hand-made leather masks, an essential ornament used in Commedia dell'Arte.

Students were taught the proper standing structures for acting out particular roles.

Students take turns throwing sticks during a workshop exercise.

Two students improvise using new skills Fava taught them.

Click on any photo above to view all five images.

The Al Bustan Festival, which annually organizes a month of musical and theatrical shows for performers from around the world, has made its way this month to LAU Beirut for a series of events.

The main attractions in the series are expected to be the two performances of the play Romeo & Julia at Irwin Theater, today and tomorrow by the New York-based Nature Theatre of Oklahoma group.

“We knew that LAU has a good reputation for its arts, so we contacted them to see if they were interested in [collaborating],” says Maha Kobaissi, an organizer with the Al Bustan Festival.

Romeo & Julia is a twisted rendition of Shakespeare’s renowned 16th-century tragedy Romeo and Juliet, based on the fuzzy memories of several people who were asked to recant the story of Romeo and Juliet from beginning to end.

By the time the play was finished, there were new, invented characters, and others missing from the original version, while scenes included blind spots and twisted events.

The same group will hold an improvisation workshop for students at the Beirut campus, on March 11, from 5:00-8:00 p.m.

Also part of Al Bustan Festival’s program, LAU Beirut hosted renowned Italian actor, author and theater director Antonio Fava on March 2 for a theater workshop attended by about 25 students.

During the workshop, students learned the skills of Commedia dell’Arte, a 17th and 18th-century European art craft, which translates to “comedy of art” or “comedy of the professional.”

Fava, who also holds the title “Maestro of Commedia dell’Arte and Comedy,” brought several of his personally designed leather masks, which have been exhibited in museums around the world, to the workshop to act out several character roles.

“1560 was the beginning of the decadence of the mask,” Fava said, as he explained that the year also represented the participation of women in European theater.

This year, the Al Bustan Festival designated an Italian theme to celebrate the nation’s cultural talents.


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