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Macbeth Arabia brings a regional touch to Shakespeare
The much-anticipated Macbeth Arabia will open tonight at American University of Sharjah (AUS). Presented by the Performing Arts Program of the AUS College of Arts and Sciences, the play will run December 13-17, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. in the old School of Business and Management Building on campus.
An exciting story of one man's struggle to overcome his thirst for power, the play is a take on William Shakespeare's Macbeth, set in ninth century Arabia. Directed by Anthony Tassa, Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Performing Arts Program, the play seeks to explore the themes of ambition and pride but is set in a more regional context.
The production features guest actors in residence who worked closely with AUS theatre students. These were Bashar Atiyat, a Jordanian actor who now works out of Hollywood and is a member of the Screen Actors Guild of America, and Hugh Kennedy, an American stage actor and member of the Actor's Equity Association. Lady Macbeth will be played by AUS student Hala Albassar.
"This production has been especially exciting for our student cast and crew, because they have had the opportunity to work alongside professional actors Hugh Kennedy and Bashar Atiyat, both of whom bring a tremendous wealth of knowledge," said Tassa. "This production is a major leap forward for the Performing Arts Program, raising the bar for our program to a new height. It's a very complex and challenging production, but our students are most definitely up to the task," he added.
The production contains a cast of 26 students, the two guest artists and three drummers from the Dubai Drums and involves the work of approximately 30 additional students on costumes, lighting and scenic elements. The crew includes Tassa, director and fight choreographer; Ken East, technical director and scenic designer; Cate Moran, costume designer; Kholoud Sawaf, assistant director; Steve Shipman, lighting designer; Atiyat, cultural consultant; and Fawaz Akhtar, graphic designer.
"Tony Tassa has put together a dream-team cast of artists that bring a wealth of professional theatre experience coupled with their deep-seeded desire to teach. I am continually astounded by the spirit of his students; their hunger for the work, their drive to be extraordinary, and their need to communicate ideas bigger and broader than themselves is something truly special," said Kennedy.
According to Atiyat, "Working on this production has been an exhilarating rush, as I work with students who truly pour their hearts and souls into the project to make sure it is a world- class production, and see them grow into their characters, taking all directions and notes in consideration to improve their performance, and working with the wealth of knowledge and experience of Professor Tassa has made it to me an actor's dream-project come true."
Macbeth Arabia will be performed every night at 7:00 p.m. until Saturday, December 17. To reserve tickets, contact Kholoud Sawaf at [email protected].