The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0168  Thursday, 13 March 2008

From:		Margaret Litvin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Wednesday, 12 Mar 2008 00:23:12 -0400
Subject:	Arabic RIII Coming to DC

Dear Colleagues,

The AP story below announces that the Sulayman Al-Bassam The Richard III,
commissioned as part of the RSC's Complete Works Festival last year, is 
coming to Washington, DC. I believe it's going to New York and Michigan 
as well.

All best,

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

WASHINGTON: A retelling of Shakespeare's "Richard III," set in the 
contemporary Arab world of desert palaces and oil-rich kingdoms, is 
among the highlights of a three-week Arab arts and culture festival that 
will mark the 2008-2009 season of the John F. Kennedy Center for the 
Performing Arts.

The "Arabesque: Arts of the Arab World" festival - a name inspired by a 
calligraphic style from ninth-century Iraq - was announced Tuesday. It 
will feature artists from all 22 Arab nations in February and March 
2009, and will be the largest presentation of Arab arts ever in the 
United States, Kennedy Center president Michael Kaiser said.

Themes from "Richard III," for example, take on new meanings in the Arab 
context and can help bridge cultural divides, he said.

"In this world of tribal allegiances, family infighting and absolute 
power, the questions of leadership, religion and foreign intervention 
are at the heart of Shakespeare's play," Kaiser said.

The programming slate also includes dance ensembles from Lebanon and 
Syria as well as traditional belly dancing, while exhibits will feature 
Arab photography, sculpture and fashion. Theater and musical offerings 
include diverse religious sounds of the region, and the more provocative 
"Alive From Palestine: Stories Under Occupation," a play produced by the 
only professional theater in the Palestinian territories.
  . . .
The Arab festival in 2009 follows similar international events focused 
most recently on Japan and China. The festival is being coordinated with 
the League of Arab Nations, though still a "daunting" task to bring 
together 22 different nations, said Alicia Adams, vice president of 
international programming. She said the visa and customs process alone 
would probably be most challenging.  Arab League Ambassador Hussein 
Hassouna said the festival will promote better understanding between 
Americans and countries ranging from Iraq to Sudan and Somalia. "It 
shows that the Arab world belongs to a great civilization that wants to 
be interactive with other cultures," he said.

Kennedy Center officials continue to search for more artists to join the 
festival, though planning for the project began four years ago after the 
center brought the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra to perform in 

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