Mud: A play in 17 scenes by Maria Irene Fornes was performed for free more than a dozen times by the Masrah Ensemble in Mansion, a salvaged, derelict Ottoman residence in Beirut for three weeks this Winter. Starring Mohammad Akil, Clare Barron, and Julian Farhat, directed by Eyad Houssami and co-Produced by Nagham Abboud and Jowe Harfouche, the play was performed in Arabic and English.
The play asked the questions: Do we choose or earn our right to where and how we live? How do literacy and reading transform who we are? How do we cope with our insatiable thirst for deeper meaning in daily life?
Eyad Houssami’s book, Doomed by Hope: Essays on Arab Theatre (Pluto, 2012) is one of the first English language volumes on Arab theatre. The book traces the history of Arab theatre and its relationship to social change.
“This unique volume assembled by playwright Houssami [is] welcome and necessary… Underlying the volume is a sense of the necessary. This is the power of theater giving voice to the voiceless, whether in the streets of Syria after the 1973 war, in US college theaters experiencing a solo performance about a Palestinian American living in Palestine for a year, or in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. … remarkably topical and relevant… fascinating. Highly recommended.”
K.J. Wetmore, Jr., CHOICE