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 ūüėõ

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


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..


Edited by Houssam Hariri and Karim Bekdache

September 30, 2010

“Actress J’s Burial night” was performed at the Lebanese American University.

The lighting was designed by alaa minawi and the video below features a glimpse of the work that was done to accomplish the design concept.

The editing of the video was made by Houssam Hariri and I.


Communication Arts Students of LAU on Strike! We Deserve a Decent Studio!

May 6, 2010

Today, we're on STRIKE!

Today on May 5th, 2010 the communication arts students of the Lebanese American University went on strike and did not attend any of the classes today. The strike was held in protest of the poor state our studio is currently in and how nothing is being done to improve.

We, as LAU students who pay our tuitions just like everyone else in the university, have the right to have decent up-to-date equipment as well as a decent studio to work in.

Our cameras are more than 10 years old, we just got 4 new cameras which are not enough for the 200 communication arts students! We do not have enough editing programs, the studio is a mess…the details of our demands that were included in the petition we handed in a few weeks earlier can be found on the facebook event of the strike http://bit.ly/bYg0VU¬†or on the facebook group http://bit.ly/dxEmNo¬†.

The Studio is Suffocating Us!

We started preparing early morning as we put up flyers on the fine arts building stating our demands and pointing out the problems that are occuring in the studio..after we finished hanging the last flyer the dean of students of LAU came and tore them down because we had to get approval for anything we hang on campus. That actualy meant that we are not allowed to hang flyers since the guidance office will surely not accept (we tried that afterwards and they called the dean of students to check if it was ok and he refused).

The Posters We Prepared

We perpared posters and stuff like that and held them in the fine arts area; that was acceptable the university has no problem with that. Everything was running smoothly until we noticed that today was orientation day at LAU where high school students come and visit our campus to see how it is in order to decide later on whether or not to enroll themselves in LAU. At 12:00 pm, a band was scheduled to perform for the new students at the fine arts area, but we were there protesting which “ruins the image of the university”. We were approached by the dean of students again and he asked us to take down the posters and hang them back up at 12:30 when the concert was over; we did not accept and kept the posters up. The dean of students then told us that we shall suffer the consequences of our actions and gave us a final chance to take them down. When we refused he started taking pictures of the students protesting I don’t know for what reason. Then he asked the security guard to take our ID cards, which they did; he also confiscated many of the cameras and the video camera that was taping the whole protest (which he is still holding).¬†In the meantime some other communication arts students were down at the studio with the dean of the Arts and Sciences Department showing her around to see for herself in what state is the studio in; she was very responsive and supportive of our cause and promised us change which we really apperaciated.

The Studio Flooded a Few Weeks Back! NOT FOR THE FIRST TIME!!

I went down to the studio to tell the rest of us of how they were taking away our ID cards so we decided to give the dean of students ALL of our IDs, I collected them and went up and handed them to him, he thanked me. I collected some more ID cards from communication arts students who arrived a bit late and handed them again to the dean of students. He took them from me and asked me to leave campus!! I asked why and the answer was that what I am doing is impolite; he said¬†“2ellet 7aya”. I explained to him that¬†I was just collecting the rest of the IDs because he had sent the security guards to collect them¬† in the first place! He continued by saying that it was impolite and that I should leave campus immediately. I asked if I could take my things first, he refused. I was escorted out of LAU.

I went and had a labneh sandwich with olives, tomatoes and cucumbers:)

Our Mascot! He's Suffocating As Well!

As I was heading out of the market just across the street from LAU, I hear the secutiry guard calling me to go in. I find the head of security standing at the gate who was there to kindly let me back in. With his help along with the help of the chairperson of the communication arts department and one of the vice presidents and other faculty members as well as the support of my fellow communication arts students who were protesting I was able to go back in the university because the reasons for which I was kicked out were not valid!

Our Peaceful Protest

Once back in, I met with the dean of students on campus. He looked at me and gave me this disapointed look, I told him that I did not understand why he thought of what I did was impolite and that all what I wanted to do is deliver the message of the students and myself that we are all united and we are all together on this. He explained that what I did was indecent, I explained to him and said that if I knew that it was indecent I wouldn’t have done it. We ended the conversation by him telling me that he is fully supportive of our case and that¬†it’s ok, it’s all sorted out now (my issue of getting kicked out). I thanked him and went back to the protest.

Wednesday Morning, Preparing For The Protest

We kept our peaceful protest going until it was around 5:00 pm; after that we cleaned up after ourselves and left fine arts area after hearing that the administration has started taking immediate action.

Communication Arts Mascot For Today

Hopefully we shall witness real change soon, we will follow up on how things are going and will not rest until we get what we are entitled to.

Taping the Protest Before the Camera and the Tape Were Confiscated by The Dean of Students

We accomplished something today and we are very proud of ourselves and we’re glad that the administration is taking us seriously. I just feel so ashamed that there are a lot of communication arts students who did not show up, who decided to sleep in today since there were no classes or went to the beach because coming to the protest is “a waste of time”; it is as if this wasn’t for them as well. Shame on them, whoever they may be.


www.mayazankoul.com visits us!

March 20, 2010

Maya Zankoul During Her Presentation

Last Thursday graphic designer Maya Zankoul visited our new media class and shared her experience in blogging and tweeting.

What was so nice is that she uploaded her latest blog post http://mayazankoul.com/2010/03/18/a-miracle-at-lebanese-banks/¬†live in front of us and we saw what she does after posting it..checking out comments, “likes” on facebook..basically feedback on that post which were surprisingly quick!! I loved it..

Not that I needed it, but it was real proof that once you establish yourself online you gain a lot of “followers” as they say in “Twitterish” which makes you more motivated to keep updating your blog, twitter status…

I loved that session of #lausocial and I loved Maya’s work!

Visit www.mayazankoul.com to understand what I’m talking about and follow¬†@mayazankoul on twitter for her latest updates!

Can’t wait for the next guest…


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!


Anissa Helou’s Blogging Experience

February 26, 2010

A few days ago, Ms. Anissa Helou, an internationally known food writer, art collector, ¬†journalist, broadcaster, and one of the leading experts on the cuisines of the Mediterranean and the Middle East visited LAU and spoke about her experience with the internet in her field of work. She spoke to us as part of our new media class about several aspects of her life. What was interesting about her use of the internet is that it is now part of her daily routine, it’s part of her job; Ms. Helou spends around 2 hours daily updating her blog, tweeting, and replying to e-mails. She made it clear to us that having a presence online¬†is essential in her work and has helped her a lot.

What really cought my attention was the fact that Ms. Helou did not like blogging/tweeting at the begining…¬† just like myself (I still find tweeting in particular rather annoying). Time after time she got used to it and learned how important it is which got me motivated a bit and allowed me to give Twitter another chance.

Having guest speakers in our class is an interesting experience where we can actualy talk and discuss with people who have had experience with new media and who benefited from what we are currently learning in the class.

What would be also nice is if we have speakers who are working in the same field I’m studying (TV/Film). I’ll probably relate more to that.