To The Cast & Crew of “The Baghdad Monologue”

April 4, 2011

It is Tuesday, April 5, 2011 and it’s almost 6:00 pm and almost time for us to open the doors for the audience to enter. I wrote something for the cast and crew who worked with me on the play and made it possible.

I just called everyone to the stage and I’m asking them to read this post before I publish it.

 

That's Almost Everyone. Our Team Consisted of Around 15 People

Dear

Imane: I am sorry I could not help you in your play as much as you helped me. I will never forget how much time and effort you put into this play, whether it is painting the leaves, going “yalla, yalla saret 7:30”, or organizing so many things for us to work faster! I wouldn’t have dreamed of a better Technical Director.

Maha: I laughed when I wrote your name. I guess it’s because how much fun it was with you being around no matter how much work we had to do; you always seemed to have a way to make us all laugh, and frankly that’s something AMAZING especially when you’re the Stage Manager.

Toulyn: You joined the team as a stage manager at a later stage and you were the element that was lacking in our crew! You were always ready to help in anything even if it wasn’t your job! I love that about you! I don’t know how to thank you!

Hussein: You did more than just designing and EXECUTING a beautiful set! You have been there for me and the play since the beginning and you did it for so many reasons but mainly because you are so passionate about theatre. I know that you will succeed in this domain and that very soon you will be realizing your dream, I know that for a fact!

Layal: I am proud to have you design the lights. It is the first time you’re doing this and I’m sure that people will not believe me when I tell them that this is your first official lighting design work! You did a marvelous job and it added SO much to the play!

Rayssa: Happy birthday! You weren’t my sound designer in the play (event though the music you chose was amazing), no you were a true friend. Someone who will always be there for me and to whom I will always be there for. (I hope I used the “whom” correctly, as if you’d know :P) Oh and your tweets meant so much to me, for so many reasons and you know them all.

Gassig: I’m glad we agreed on the costume at the end, it was the perfect one. I told you this before and I want to say it again: just knowing that you’re around in rehearsals or that you’re just a “whatsapp” message away made me feel relieved and kept me going. Thank you for everything you did this past month! Oh and…actually never mind :).

Mazen: My last minute make-up designer! Thanks for helping out at the last minute. I couldn’t imagine the play being complete without you having your crazy fits at some point! Thanks.

Dounia: Those people outside are here because of your design. You did an awesome job! I don’t know anyone who would design a poster for a play better than you! Thank you so much! Especially for being patient with all the changes made! The program isn’t ready yet but I’m not worried at all, I know it’ll be as good as the poster.

Camelia: The minute you found out I started working on the play you came to me and said “I want to help! What do you need?” It’s not easy to do the publicity of a play, but you did it; and you did it perfectly, I knew I could trust you with anything. After all you ARE my first “rencontre” at LAU!!

Ali: Everyone loves to work with you because you are “3ayesha” as we were discussing a few days ago. I hope you never loose that, it shows how passionate you are in what you do. Thank you for everything that you have done, LAU’s favorite light operator.

Majed: You’re a pro when it comes to sound operating. Some might say it doesn’t require a lot but I’ve been in your position many times and I know how much concentration it requires. And I know how boring it could get when you’re not doing anything up in the control room but you have to stay because they’re fixing something on stage. Believe me that I tried to speed things up as much as I could while working just so you guys in the control room don’t feel what I feel when I’m operating the sound or lights! I’m sure it didn’t work though 😛

Mohammad, Thea and Mohammad: My stage hands! Without you, the play would not be the same! Sitting on the catwalk is not comfortable, thanks for enduring that! I’ll do that in your plays if you need me to I promise!

Fuad: Where do I start? I’m not even going to bother counting the things you helped with in this production! You helped in everything! I don’t know what to write, I really don’t know. Actually, I don’t know how to thank you for everything you have done this past month and I don’t think I’ll ever do. One day I will try my best to buy you the Kinder factory perhaps, or try to help you direct 2 plays a year, one feature film every two years and 1 short film every two months or all of those together! Oh and starting that egg project we were thinking of! I don’t know, it doesn’t matter because all of that might never be accomplished but know that I will always be there to help you in anything, no matter how irrational it may sound, we’ll try to make it come true!

Fuad Halwani who plays Kamil's Father (right) and I (left) during one of the rehearsals in our beloved room G013.

On another note, what’s great is that I had NO ONE to show this to before Tuesday since all of my closest friends and the people I love the most were working with me in the play!

Anyways, I guess it’s time, Fuad please click the “publish” button on the right and let’s open the doors.

 

Poster of the production designed by Dounia Nassar

Enjoy YOUR performance! You made it happen!

Thank you everyone,

Karim

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The Baghdad Monologue – My First Theatre Production

March 28, 2011

The poster was designed by Dounia Nassar. (Click To Enlarge)

 

It is the first time I direct a play. I have worked in many theatre productions before and in different positions, but this is the first time I direct a play! It’s exciting and I’m enjoying it.

The Team During Rehearsals. Unfortunately we don't get to rehearse in the theatre before the 5 day period right before the performance (what we call "The Get In") because so many plays are being staged this semester.

 

As communication arts students at the Lebanese American University (LAU) each of us has to direct a one act play as part of the Play Production I course we take in our second or third year; and I chose “The Baghdad Monologue”. It’s not as easy as it seemed but we’re working well and hopefully we’ll have a beautiful performance, I have an amazing team helping me out.

 

Fuad Halwani is acting in the play. I'm glad he's acting with me, he has acted in so many plays before and has a lot of experience. He's also a good friend.

 

The play discusses the war in Iraq from a media perspective, told by an Iraqi father who has lost his son. It is written by Alejandro Viñao, an Argentinean playwright and will be staged on April 5, 2011 at 6:00 PM in LAU’s Irwin Theatre for one night only.

Here is the list of cast and crew:

Cast

Fuad Halwani

Crew

Technical Director: Imane Khozam
Stage Managers: Maha Bracks & Toulyn Lababidi
Set Designer: Hussein Nakhal
Lighting Designer: Layal Kreidieh
Sound Designer: Rayssa Kanso
Costumes & Make-up Designers: Sarag Payelian & Gassig
Karamanougian
Poster Designer: Dounia Nassar
Publicity Manager: Camelia Arab
Director: Karim Bekdache

Facebook Event: http://bit.ly/tbmlau


My Mustache Experience

January 3, 2011

During the Media Research Methods course at LAU, by Dr. Khaled Nasser

Professor: Do you need extra credit on your average?

Class: Yes!

Professor: Men, grow a mustache; Women, apply “henna” on your entire hand.

This project is an autoethnographic experiment.

Auto-ethnography is defined as a form of autobiographical personal narrative that explores the writer’s experience of life. In auto-ethnography the researcher becomes the primary participant/subject of the research in the process of writing personal stories and narratives.

As Dr. Nasser puts it, “The objective of this project is to stimulate you to change one simple thing in you and monitor how your life, your perceptions, the life of those around you might change because of this little change in you.”
At the end of the experiment we have to present a report of the main insights we discover about the impact of the change on ourselves and other people.

Dr. Khaled Nasser (notice how HE has a mustache... coincidence? hmm?)

I just shaved my beard and kept the mustache, and believe me it’s no “little” change! I’m going to have to explain to each person I see/meet why I’m doing this!
I sometimes forget that I now have a mustache and just burst into laughter when I see myself in the mirror.
I’ll probably get used to it since we have to keep the mustache for 20 days..what’s cool is that if it weren’t for this research project I probably would have never grown a mustache so it’s fine, I’m happy with that.

Here I am (right) Very Happy With My Normal Look

Oh and we have to update our facebook profile pictures with a picture of our new look!
So far, reactions varied from HAHAHAHAHA to complete shock, confusion, and disappointment!
I’ll publish the report by January 20, 2011 (yey! first time writing 2011..happy new year!)

Here I'm Very Sad With My Silly Mustache..Counting the days till January 20!


The Gas Heart Directed by Rayssa Kanso

October 27, 2010

LAU student Rayssa Kanso (www.twitter.com/rayssaka) is putting on her theatre production (The Gas Heart written by Tristan Tzara) on November 30, 2010 at 6:00 pm in Irwin Theatre at LAU’s Beirut Campus. Rehearsals started a few days ago and we’re still in the process of reading and writing.

I am currently in the rehearsals room and we just took a break after reading the text and discussing it a bit; I still don’t know what I do in the play whether I’m acting or helping out backstage but I’m enjoying the rehearsals, the text is very interesting but also weird and pretty vague which is cool..we’re exploring it as much as we can so we can start with the blocking, characterization and so on in the coming two weeks..

Follow my tweets (www.twitter.com/karimbekdache) for updates about the rehearsals period as well as general info about the performance..Facebook event will be created soon..


What Does New Media Mean to Bashar, Nayla and Rayssa? Project 2 Analysis

May 18, 2010

What we know about “new” media today is basically the newer forms of media today which generally involve the internet and new mobile technologies being developed nowadays; the new ways of communication.

In this project we were asked to interview three people from different age groups and compare their answers regarding new media and what they know about it, if they like it, how often do they use it… I actually chose three people from the same age group because they really had different answers and the fact that they’re from the same age group makes it acceptable to compare.

Rayssa: her knowledge about new media is limited to the tools that are very popular in Lebanon these days such as facebook and myspace..she’s more or less an active user but I did not feel that she makes it a point to stop and make time for the internet, whenever there’s time she’s online.

Bashar: he’s more aware of new media as a concept and understands perfectly what it is used for and how it is growing and where it might lead to. he’s an active user online and realizes the importance of new media today and knows that it will benefit him in the future.

Nayla: she is very much aware about the popular tools we use in Lebanon and is an active user online but what is very interesting about her is that she doesn’t think about new media as something more than just fun and believes she can easily let go and not have it in her life.

I thought that Rayssa, Nayla and Bashar were a perfect example of people who are aware of new media (moderate), couldn’t care less if it existed or not (passive), and really into new media and understand the system perfectly (active) respectively.

They all knew about it that’s for sure, what is different is there approach to it and how they deal with it. They all use almost the same tools as each other as well.

To record the videos I used my cell phone, I transferred them to my computer, uploaded them to youtube and thus they’re shared with everyone.

I used Adobe Premiere just to edit out the beginning of one video. I found no difficulties in editing.

The easiest thing about the whole thing was obviously the shooting part and the hardest thing was the subtitles; it took a HUGE amount of time!!!

My favourite part of the project was knowing how other people felt about new media and what they knew about it. My least favourite part was the SUBTITLES!!!


Chatroulette is a VERY funny concept!

May 15, 2010

17-year old Russian founder, Andrey Ternovskiy created the site (with a $10 webcam and a few lines of code) “because I wanted to entertain myself and my friends”

My experience with chatroulette was kind of funny…I don’t know why I just didnt take it seriously I was just laughing at the whole concept…I couldnt actualy talk to someone I just saw pictures cz the internet is obviously very slow in Lebanon.

Eyetoy and tinychat are similar to chatroulette but I preferred chatroulette because it’s much more straighforward it’s just the video chat and no signup needed which makes it much simpler and more anonymous..

I don’t really think randomly meeting people through these kind of sites is in anyway useful because most people who try these kind of things are just doing it for fun.

People probably like it cz its like a game..why do people enjoy playing games online? cz its entertaining…chatroulette is entertaining and the fact that it’s real people you react with makes it more appealing.

this kind of service will NEVER pick up in Lebanon for the simple reason that no one has internet fast enough for that site! If it wasn’t for that I’m pretty sure everyone will be on chatroulette.


Screening of “Cinema Paradiso”

March 5, 2010

Today I went to watch Cinema Paradiso directed by Giuseppe Tornatore at LAU as part of our Art of Film class.

It was a very interesting movie, I loved it. It was a bit long but I didn’t mind it, the story is very well written. I really liked the cinematography as well.
What I didn’t like was the fact that sometimes the sound was out of sync with the picture, I don’t know what was wrong with the copy of the dvd but it was something that I was able to overlook more or less.
I don’t know why but I didn’t feel that the oldest “Toto” resembled the younger “Toto’s”; they looked more like each other. Not physically but they way they acted and the way they interacted with other characters.

But overall I loved it!