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March 2006

All The World's Stage Directions


The Players:

Koffi Kwahulé, from the Ivory Coast

Lenin Al-Ramly, from Egypt

Zdenka Becker, from Austria

Leung Shing Him, from Hong Kong

Jon Fosse, from Norway

Chong Mui Ngam, from Hong Kong

Buddhadeva Bose, from India

Philip Boehm, from the U.S.

Klaus Pohl, from Germany

The Setting: On an empty stage, in a virtual space, the cast of this drama gathers for the first scene of their respective plays to be presented simultaneously....

Koffi Kwahulé's Little Stain introduces a mischievous spirit, the son of lightning, who visits a bourgeois family frozen in their own domestic drama while watching television in Africa.

Lenin Al-Ramly's A Peace of Women presents Aristophanes' Lysistrata redux, with a chorus of women denying their husbands their affection during the current war in Iraq.

(Aside: Liesl Schillinger interviews Ellen Stewart on her own wild Classical cycle, Seven.)

In Zdenka Becker's Scent of Wheat, an aging poet muses on the role of writers during wartime, the Balkan conflict, art, beauty, sex, trauma, God, burying someone you love, and unfinished translations.

Seven, by Leung Shing Him, portrays a misogynist Hong Kong real estate agent and his victim, a girl implicated in the crime, trading perspectives in a sophisticated thriller.

Night Sings Its Songs, by Norway's leading playwright Jon Fosse, takes us deep into one fateful night where a young man and woman, in a relationship haunted by unfulfilled desires and ambitions, try to reconnect.

Alive in the Mortuary, by Chong Mui Ngam takes us to Uganda, where a doctor and a poet debate the relative value of the poetic and the scientific in a mortuary.

Buddhadeva Bose's The Ascetic and the Courtesan presents an ancient Hindu legend of a drought, an ailing king, and the royal marriage intended to reverse the fortunes of the kingdom.

Philip Boehm's Zeke is a postmodern response to Franz Kafka's story "A Report to an Academy," in which the grandson of an educated ape muses on Americana.

And Klaus Pohl's Canary illuminates various facets of the diamond district in New York City.

Credits: The lion's share of the plays selected for this issue were curated by Theatre Without Borders, an informal, voluntary group of theatre artists around the world.

from Little Stain

In memory of Robert Mac Leod, Koné Ibrahima, Jean-Claude Grenier One must lose one's self to find one's self. --Ralph Ellison In the human world, time is three The time to

from A Peace of Women

A Baghdad 2003 Lysistrata, adapted from Aristophanes' Play NOTE: El-Ramly's Salam El-Nisaa (A Peace of Women) is a nuanced adaptation of Aristophanes' Lysistrata, set in

Drama Queen: An Interview with Ellen Stewart

Ellen Stewart founded the LaMaMa Experimental Theater Company in 1961, and her groundbreaking vision helped establish the careers of Sam Shepard, Philip Glass, Harvey Fierstein, Robert Wilson,

from The Scent of Wheat

Monologue for the Stage A Tragicomedy * Dedicated to a great poet, who understands that despite Sarajevo, life offers something more than death. * Darkness. In the distance the

from Seven

Time: 2004 Place: In a corner of West Kowloon Characters: Voice - the "inner voice" of various main characters Tze Seun Wong - real estate agent, about 50 yrs old, deals mainly with old

from Night Sings Its Songs

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: Natta Syng Sine Songar by Jon Fosse was first presented by the Rogaland Theatre in Stavanger, Norway in 1997. The English translation, Night Sings Its Songs, was

from Alive in the Mortuary

The setting is inside the mortuary of a hospital in an African country at war, Angola. Two corpses are covered by white sheets. In the original play, the text in italics is spoken in

from The Ascetic and The Courtesan

A Play in Four Acts *** Author's Note: Tapasvi o Tarangini (The Ascetic and The Courtesan) was published in five consecutive issues of the magazine Desh in 1966, after which it was

from Soul of a Clone

NOTE: Kafka's "A Report to an Academy" served as a springboard for Philip Boehm's theater piece Soul of a Clone, which premiered in January 2005 at Upstream Theater in St. Louis. The

A Report to an Academy

Esteemed Gentlemen of the Academy! I feel honored by your invitation to present the academy with a report on my former life as an ape. I am afraid, however, that I will be unable to comply

from Canary

Characters: Siggi Grünebaum, an old diamond cutter Benny Schorsch, his partner Violetta Grünebaum-Moser, Siggi's daughter Roland Moser, her husband Elfie Schneider, a young


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