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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Shakespeare-Iraq: from Iraq to Ashland

Update 7/5/12: they're here in Ashland! We saw them on Tuesday night at the Green Show and it was such fun. The crowd loved them and they seemed to be having great time. Much love all around. They did an amazing thing switching back and forth in Shakespeare scenes, between English and Kurdish and since the scenes were familiar it was always clear what was going on - and they did it with seeming ease. They also did some charming Iraqui singing and dancing, answered questions, and generally charmed. They had another performance tonight, which I had to miss, and two more - Saturday and Sunday. On Tuesday, they were in the audience for Henry V.  It was a great performance and I'm glad they got to see it. More later. A documentary is being filmed about this story by one of the filmmakers who had an entry in this year's AIFF. And they've been invited up to Portland too. SO happy!

Here's some nice news coverage: http://www.kobi5.com/news/local-news/item/building-cultural-bridges-through-shakespeare.html

Update: They made their goal! We are so happy in my neighborhood! We can't wait to see them here in July at the Green Show. Don't you love it when a crowdsourced project you supported succeeds?!

Original post:
This is such a wonderful Kickstarter project - but they have a long way to go to reach their goal. I so hope they succeed because I'd love to see them here in Ashland! I made my own small pledge for the cause. How about you? Here's the site. Don't you just love Kickstarter? Click on the video for more:

Description of the project, from the Kickstarter site:
Shakespeare Iraq.

Shakespeare Iraq?
That's right. This project involves a group of Iraqi college students at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani who formed a Shakespearean company and are now invited to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. This was not what anyone had in mind at first. What began as an appreciation-type club was quickly overrun by the students' passion for doing a live performance. Last June, they did it -- an English-language Shakespeare production, not on a campus or Green Zone, but in a public theater -- the first of its kind ever in the country.
Soon afterwards, I did a radio interview on Bob Scheer's Truthdig radio. An Oregon Shakespeare Festival subscriber was listening, and before we knew it, we were offered a one-week slot OSF's Green Show.
Anyone near OSF knows their strong bonds with the local community, how they constantly search for new ways to refresh and enhance those bonds. If you go to a show there, and look in the audience, you feel like you're at a ball game, shopping center or airport. In other words, there's all kinds of people there -- not just "theater types." For a troupe of Iraqi student theater artists, looking for lessons to bring back their country, what more could you ask for?
OSF's Green Show is no sideshow. There are highly talented groups from across the country and world that make it onto that stage, and we will be bringing our A game to keep up.

The money we will raise gets us from here to there -- OSF has agreed to take good care of us after that.

If you're somewhere close to excited as we are about this, and you're interested in supporting us, I send you a big shokran, zor spas, and heartfelt thanks from Shakespeare Iraq.
Peter Friedrich
Head of Drama
American University of Iraq - Sulaimani

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