Saturday, June 08, 2013

Zoukak Sidewalks

Zoukak means "alley" in Arabic - so Zoukak Sidewalks is a kind of pun - it's also a very good idea.  Not unlike our Laboratory in many ways.  Zoukak invite visiting artists to lead workshops, give talks and demonstrations, hold masterclasses, show videos of their work, and generally generate a buzz around performance.  In the last few months, that's included our own dear Patron, Peter Sellars, and other old friends like Mojisola Adebayo, as well as Nathalie Garraud from France and Bharatanatyam performer Rozina Shiraz Gilani. Last night it was out turn.  What was particularly exciting about this Sidewalks event was that we had been working with Zoukak through the week on ideas for a new play, and this was a chance to try them out.

What amazed me was just how much material we had been able to generate in only five days.  We were able to lead the audience through a possible structure for the entire piece, including a "spine" of scenes which Brian had already written, plus a totally new parallel narrative from contemporary Beirut, and a series of meditations from female voices on the place of women in the Iliad.  We were able to show quite a few scenes in some sort of theatrical form, and give a powerful sense of how the finished play might mix languages, periods, and styles. Several people commented on the way the play juxtaposed something very austere and classical with a grubby contemporary reality, and found it fascinating how the two inter-connected.  All very encouraging indeed. 

Thank you British Council...  a really inspiring week....  Now - how do we move forward???

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