Posting Date: May 1, 2009
KSU students and set sail to Morocco with "Moby-Dick"
By Liza Scales
Kennesaw State University
Theatre and Performance Studies Department are partnering with from Hassan II University in Casablanca, Morocco to create an interculturl study abroad course for their students this summer. Karen Robinson, associate professor of theatre and performance studies, is organizing the course in collaboration with HIIU member Samir El Azhar, who recently visited KSU.
On-campus productions of "Moby-Dick" are July 1-2 in Howard Logan Stillwell Theater. Admission is $12. For more information, visit www.kennesaw.edu/arts/box office.
The study abroad course will include several components. TPS students will attend a series of lectures delivered by professors of HIIU and participate in an oral history workshop with HIIU students. The workshop will include lectures on ethnographic performance and workshops led by Hannah Harvey, assistant professor of theatre and performance studies. In this segment, HIIU students will partner with KSU students to exchange stories and develop them into performance pieces.
The oral history component of the course represents a partnership not only between TPS
and HIIU, but also with the American Studies Program at KSU, which has already been collaborating with HIIU on the initial phases of the Ben M’sik Community Museum project. This project is designed to promote the vanishing history of the Ben M’sik community, an impoverished, yet vibrant neighborhood where HIIU is located. Given the fact that many HIIU students are from this area, the oral histories developed and performed by all the students will enhance the museum project.
TPS students will also perform John Gentile’s new re-adaptation of Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick” at the International Festival of University Theatre at HIIU. Guest artist Hylan Scott, who co-directed the critically acclaimed spring 2008 production at KSU, will direct the production.
Gentile’s re-adaptation of “Moby-Dick” for Moroccan audiences who are not fluent in English focuses more on the physical action and visual impact of the play. Gentile’s adaptation will include some French and Arabic translations, the primary languages of Morocco. Using previously published French translations, Robinson will collaborate with Gentile and Scott to interweave some excerpts into the script. Student Omar Siddiqi will assist with translating other portions into Arabic.
Ralph Rosario is one of 10 students who auditioned and was chosen to participate in the study abroad exchange and performance. Though Ralph doesn’t speak any foreign languages, he looks forward to this opportunity. He says, “I can’t wait to do this. It’s an amazing chance to visit and study such an interesting culture.” Regarding the special and rare opportunity this study abroad program presents, Robinson says, “We haven’t had much opportunity in the past to participate in the Islamic community. These students are really lucky to have this project come to fruition at this time."