Sunday, 13 May 2012

"The Speaker's Progress" play by al Bassam in Kuwait

Slaiman al Bassam strikes again with a new version of a Shakespearian tale in a modern arab setting. In al Shamiyah theatre in Kuwait, the play has been delivered for 4 days. The plot is a complex remake of a 1963 movie in a hypothetical repressive regime. The main subject is about the lack of expression at all levels in such repression; the theatre and the acting business are the first to suffer from a regimented form of what is really permitted.

Al Bassam, a Kuwaiti director, started this production last year at the brink of the "Arab spring" when Tunisia, Egypt and others had started their public revolts and were undergoing a major transformation. At that time, the wind of freedom was too sweet, too strong and it was difficult to see any returning back to a repressive mode. The play was read and seen as part of history that we needed to remind ourselves could exist.

A year later, al Bassam and his team continues the presentation with as much conviction and passion. Costumes are all thought off with details. Sound is as crisp and relevant. Yet the spectator cannot but pause and reflect.

In a local newspaper "al Qabass", an article was written on friday 11th of may 2012 to comment on the play: nothing concerning acting, drama, plot, setting. The only subject that mattered was how the "National Council for Culture and Arts" was divided into two groups : the commission for censorship on theatre was not satisfied with the play while the administration for the National council reassured of the play's validity.

The irony lies here: the lady in charge was confirming that the play is against the law on plays and theatre since the director did not take note of any changes demanded of him from the censorship commission.
As if the "Speaker's Progress" was continuing in real life, and needed to be documented in the papers.
Same words used here and there: the law, the interference of minders, the officials, the devious and un-compliant director, the responsibility of presenting a play that is not in full accordance with the law or the understanding of the commission

Bravo for al Bassam and his team on giving a true sense of reality. Great work, fantastic performance, and the plot goes on : freedom is fragile in the swirls of a repressive hurricane.

Friday, 11 May 2012

The noise of Cairo - documentary

Cairo seems to be buoyant on expression as this trailer for a documentary shows. Freedom and art, repression and art, revolution and culture, education and propaganda, censorship and liberation expression no matter what: these are issues the arab world is exploring. Cairo has always been a epicenter in the Arab noise and the shaping in the arab identity.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

"Out of Britain" Ghada Alkandery in a teaser preview

The video was done by Mazaj Entertainement in Kuwait in the hands of talended Nawaf Alali and his team. Of course the star, Ghada Alkandery, fills the role as herself the artist, the absorbed interpreter of what she sees.
A good production, the teaser gives a hint of a september 2012 exhibition by the British Council in collaboration with CAP in Kuwait.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Jean Claude Novaro in Kuwait

In April 2012, Dar al Funoon in Kuwait exhibited works by Jean Claude Novaro, a master glassblower.
He currently has an atelier in al Ain, (UAE) but has worked for years out of Biot, south of France. He started his career at the age of 14 and has blown glass since then. 
To the question: how long does it take to blow a glass piece; he answers :"Blowing glass has to be done at very high pace, heat being the transforming element. But how long has it taken me to master the different techniques, to add to it colors, to add to it all the inclusions, a lifelong journey!"
Each piece was dancing in a static version. Color in its vivid form was suspended in the clarity of transparency. Light was embraced by the object. 
Novaro blew his breath in each composition and the life force is captured in the fragility of glass.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Timbuktu, world heritage, under attack by rebels

© Unesco

Rebels, extremists, fighters, radicals, separatists all fight for a cause and use violence and destruction to achieve their objectives.
In Timbuktu, Mali, on the 6th of May 2012, some fighters entered the medieval town and "destroy a saint's tomb" setting it on fire, (according to a BBC report: link)
Timbuktu is the location of three great mosques dating back to the 14th century as well as 16 cemeteries ans mausoleums. The town was founded on gold and salt trade and reached its apogee in the 15th and 16th centuries. It was an intellectual and spiritual center with its Sankore university and other madrasas.
Destroying world heritage architecture is a way to erase the past and its memory. Do the destructors have a new way of life with new roots and new beliefs to implement in replacement?

(link to the Unesco site)

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Zeri Crafts exhibition in Kuwait

Zeri crafts is launching its products tomorrow Monday 5th of May at Sadu House from 5 to 7 pm.
A new interpretation of the Kuwaiti sadu design on silk or metal for different purposes: cushions, scarfs, shawls, mabkharas, lamps.
Great attention to details, delicate workmanship, vivid color combinations.
If you have time, it is worth the visit.

zeri crafts link