The Arabic Shakespeare Project is hoped [sic] to bring together no artists from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France and Morocco in a unique performance piece that will premiere in Morocco 2009 as part of the 1st Moroccan Winternachten International Literary Festival. It will then be offered to festivals in Morocco in 2009 before moving to Europe.
The Project has its roots in a project I created in Russia on a Fullbright Fellowship in 2000. There I worked at VGIK (The All Russian State Institute of Cinematography) under master cinematographer Vadim Ysouf to make a film with the theme “Shakespeare in Translation”. That work illustrated the complicated poetic tensions experienced by Boris Pasternak when he was forced by the Soviet government to translate Shakespeare in a form that was alien to his- and the work’s- poetic nature.
The Arabic Shakespeare Project will present live performances of Dhakirah, a script created by Mervyn Willis, utilizing Shakespeare in an equally groundbreaking context.
The Production is built around Shakespeare scenes forming a narrative arc of the army truths and paradoxes transparent in romantic love. These scenes are punctuated and woven together into seven sections driven by a narrative derived from the works of the Syrian poet Nizar Kabbani and contemporary Moroccan writer Youssef Amine Elalamy. The piece is performed in English, Arabic, and French, with a cast of four Moroccan actors, composer Karim Machdoud, and a highly visual style designed by Moroccan designer Abdelmajid Elhaouasse, all under the direction of British director Mervyn Willis.
The Arabic Shakespeare Project is planned to rehearse Spring-2009 and premiere in Rabat in mid-2009 and then tour to festivals and other cultural centres in Morocco in 2009. In the planning stages subsequent tours in 2009/10 are envisaged in France, the United Kingdom, and Holland, and other European centres of culture.