Freedom Theatre to Present THE ISLAND at Georgetown University's Davis Performing Arts Center Today
Following sold-out shows at its community-based theatre and cultural center in Jenin Refugee Camp, Palestine, Freedom Theatre performs the renowned South African anti-apartheid play "The Island" at Georgetown University's Davis Performing Arts Center, Devine Studio Theatre today, Sept. 16 and tomorrow, Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m., as part of its inaugural U.S. tour. This historic event is presented by the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, (The Lab), an initiative of the Georgetown University Theater and Performance Studies Program and the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. The play will be performed in English.
Each performance will be followed by discussions with the artists and leading policy experts, including Khaled Elgindy, Fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution on Sept. 16 and Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development, University of Maryland, on Sept. 17. Receptions, sponsored by Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and the Theater & Performance Studies Program, will follow the discussions."The Island," written by famed South African playwrights Athol Fugard, John Kani, and Winston Ntshona and inspired by a true story, takes place in a prison and revolves around a cellmate who is soon to be released, and another who is serving a life sentence. The two spend their days at mind-numbing physical labor while at night rehearsing for a performance of Sophocles' "Antigone." Is Antigone guilty of defying the laws of the state to bury her brother? Who decides? Under which law? The Freedom Theatre notes that this innovative adaptation reflects the experiences of Palestinian political prisoners, highlighting parallels between South Africa under apartheid and Palestine today.
Tickets are $15 general/$12 faculty, staff, senior, alumni/ and $7 student, and can be ordered at performingarts.georgetown.edu or at 202-687-ARTS (2787) from M-F, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The Davis Performing Arts Center is located on Georgetown University's main campus, at 37th and O Streets, NW in Washington, D.C.
In addition to the performances and post-show discussions, the residency will also include an event co-sponsored with Georgetown University's Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, whose undergraduate programs support the largest Arabic enrollment of any university in the U.S, and the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, an academic center at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service which distinguishes itself through the emphasis on the study of the contemporary Arab world. The Tuesday, September 17 discussion will be held at 3 p.m. with the actors and Prof. Elliott Colla and other members of the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies (in Arabic) in the Davis Performing Arts Center's Devine Studio Theatre.
The Freedom Theatre U.S. tour in September - co-sponsored by The Friends of the Jenin Freedom Theatre and the New York Theatre Workshop as well as theater programs at Georgetown University, Brown University, and the University of Connecticut - will include performances at all four locations and follows a tour last spring in Sweden. The cast features two Jenin actors, Faisal Abu Alhayjaa and Ahmad Alrakh, who make the refugee camp their home and are both graduates of the Freedom Theatre's Acting School. The play was performed in Arabic when it opened in Jenin in March, 2013, and will be performed in English on the tour, including the Davis Performing Arts Center shows. The tour will include one Arabic language performance in New York City.
Davis Performing Arts Center artistic director and co-founder of the Laboratory of Global Performance and Politics Derek Goldman says, "Building on recent visits to Georgetown's Davis Center from internationally celebrated artists doing urgent, politically charged work such as Belarus Free Theater, Dah Theater, Ping Chong, Anna Deavere Smith, and Israeli playwright Boaz Gaon, we are honored to be hosting the Freedom Theatre on their first U.S. tour. Our Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics has made Georgetown an international epicenter for the convergence of theater and international politics, and this production of 'The Island,' along with the discussions that will take place through this residency with some of the most insightful experts on the Middle East, are sure to provoke dialogue and empathy, and to foster new understandings."