Guantánamo

10 commentsArtists

The inmates dance in agony.

Inven­tor Thomas Edison famous­ly claimed that suc­cess is 10 per­cent inspi­ra­tion and 90 per­cent per­spi­ra­tion. In that same spir­it, and for as long as I’ve known her, Farah Shaer has been one very busy bee. I’ve seen here buzzing around every­where — whether on TV to dis­cuss a film project, in Qatar or Syria for some fes­ti­val or oth­er, or on the Lebanese American University (LAU) the­ater scene wear­ing the hats of writer, direc­tor, and pro­duc­er. (Phew! I feel exhaust­ed just typ­ing this.)

A prison with­in a prison.

Farah Shaer has a lot to say.

When I first met Farah last year at an improv class with play­wright Lucien Bourjeily, she had just shat­tered her ankle by falling off a the­ater cat­walk. I lat­er learned that it’s typ­i­cal of her to throw her­self into every­thing she does.

Her work in both film and the­ater, while still some­what rough around the edges, is the prod­uct of pas­sion and ded­i­ca­tion. The girl speaks with such con­vic­tion that I find myself nod­ding in agree­ment before I can even think. However after being giv­en some time, I find that I do agree any­way.

Her cur­rent project is enti­tled Guantánamo, a min­i­mal­ist adap­ta­tion of the play by Victoria Brittain and Gillian Slovo. Set in the infa­mous prison of the title, the sto­ry is stripped of all orna­ment and told through a series of mono­logues by an all-female cast against a black back­drop.

The six inmates scream, cry, and laugh at the strug­gles of con­tem­po­rary Arab women not so much with their own tra­di­tion, but with a west­ern ide­ol­o­gy that claims to shel­ter them from it. They rage against stig­mas which brand them with broad strokes that appear to mean some­thing but are mere­ly hol­low pro­pa­gan­da (oops I said a dirty word!) devoid of any rel­e­vance to a con­crete real­i­ty.

While the play is dia­logue-heavy, Farah’s abstract stag­ing main­tains a visu­al­ly expres­sive style, as two lyri­cal dance pieces bring it to an effec­tive crescen­do that’s almost unbear­able to watch.

Guantánamo, The Meaning of Silence • A stu­dent pro­duc­tion

Directed by Farah Shaer • Written by Victoria Brittain & Gillian Slovo Lebanese American University (LAU) Gulbenkian Theater • May 19th at 6 p.m. (one night only)

Photos by Meedo and @Sooly_Kobayashi

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Myra-lana Atoui May 19, 2010 at 8:42 am

"it's typical of her to throw herself into everything she does"
it was a great experience farah :)
-your 'not so bri2ish actress' :)

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Loryne Atoui May 19, 2010 at 9:05 am

I really want to see this! Who's going?

PS: Hi to the other Atoui commenting ;-)

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Hasan Salame May 21, 2010 at 5:40 am

Wawww!!.. I liked Farah's photo! Wondeful

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Hasan Salame May 21, 2010 at 8:40 am

Wawww!!.. I liked Farah's photo! Wondeful

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Hasan Salame May 21, 2010 at 5:41 am

by the way, not Farah Shaer, I meant Bitar!

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Hasan Salame May 21, 2010 at 8:41 am

by the way, not Farah Shaer, I meant Bitar!

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nour hassane May 22, 2010 at 10:59 am

shakloun 7a yetla3o souwar bi3a2do..craving to see them all...thx meedo and akid thank you farah habibti..

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Meedo May 22, 2010 at 11:40 am

[Translation: The photos look nice.] Thanks Nour, you guys put on a good performance.

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nour hassane May 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm

shakloun 7a yetla3o souwar bi3a2do..craving to see them all...thx meedo and akid thank you farah habibti..

Reply

Meedo May 22, 2010 at 2:40 pm

[Translation: The photos look nice.] Thanks Nour, you guys put on a good performance.

Reply

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