Drama Club | The American University of Iraq Sulaimani

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Drama Club

AUIS Drama Performs Greek Tragedy “Medea”

On April 27 and 28, the AUIS Drama Club performed yet another hit show! After the success of their adaptation of the modern American play, “Twelve Angry (Wo)men”, last Fall, they chose a much older, yet timeless play for this Spring. Medea is an ancient Greek tragedy written by Euripides and was first performed in 431 BCE. The plot revolves around Medea, a barbarian woman and bride to Jason, who brings her back with him from one of his victorious quests. Ultimately, Jason decides to leave Medea for a princess and the entire plot unravels as Medea’s fury and desire for revenge drives her towards destroying her family. The role of Medea was performed by Zhikal Hiwa, while Jason was played by Mohammed Yasin. The play was directed by the Head of Drama Club, Elizabeth O'Sullivan, who was very happy with the performance. “This year’s Spring show was an amazing accomplishment. I am so proud of the cast and crew for tackling one of the hardest plays around.” she said. “AUIS students continue to raise the bar for Dramatic Arts,” said O’Sullivan, about the performance. “I love watching students go from the nervous people that show up for auditions to the confident performers we see in the last days of the show. Medea has been no exception. I am blown away by the abilities of members of AUIS Drama to not only put on a notoriously difficult show, but to do it in English. This play saw students from all backgrounds coming together to put on a show. From the marketing to the management to the set construction to the effects, students were involved and leading the way. As Drama grows at AUIS, it is my hope that we can continue to involve students in as many aspects of putting on a show as possible, from acting to writing to directing.” The play was received well by the audience. Well done, Drama Club, and we look forward to the next performance in the upcoming Fall semester! Medea Cast (in order of appearance): Medea - Zhikal Hiwa Nurse - Raz Sadoon Tutor - Isa Mohammed Isa III Children - Mohammed Salh, Rawan Barzan Chorus - Lana Jabbar, Haisho Ali Lasur, Ruqayya Bashir Argonauts - Zhir Sardar, Bassam Seraj King Creon - Ali Kawa Messenger - Mahmood Shkur Jason - Mohammed Yasin King Aegis - Fahad Alaa Mahdi Crew: Director - Elizabeth O’ Sullivan Stage Manager - Kazho Muhsin Marketing Director - Manesht Sadoon Film Tech (trailer) - Ali Kawa Lights and Sound - Korak Agha (IT department) Set Construction - Bandan Kawa FX Construction - Mustafa Luay, Hussein Ahmed Shahab, Nashwan Hameed, Art - Mirko Mohammed, Mahmood Shkur Tech Crew - Aryan Ayad, Abdulla Alazawi See photos of the performance on our facebook page.

AUIS Stars Shine in Theatrical Performance in Sharjah

March 5, 2015 - International Studies students and aspiring actresses, Leah Farooq and Beyan Tahir, are well known faces of the AUIS Drama Club on campus. They have given stellar performances in plays such as Twelve Angry (Wo)men, Will’s Café and 9 Parts of Desire at the University. Recently, they were able to showcase their talent to a much larger audience in Sharjah, UAE, along with a cast of talented youth from all over the Middle East. Encouraged by their mentor and Head of AUIS Drama Club, Elizabeth O'Sullivan, both girls applied for the theatrical training program, Home Grown, run by the Kevin Spacey Foundation and the Middle East Theatre Academy (META). They were selected along with 35 young people from the Middle East out of more than 600 applicants. Their intensive two-week training culminated in a theatrical performance on January 25-26 in front of a large audience, including the Oscar Award winning actor Kevin Spacey and Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah. Leah and Beyan credit O’Sullivan for believing in them and pushing them to apply for Home Grown.  “If it weren’t for Liz (O’Sullivan) I would never have applied,” said Leah. Initially, they were very unsure and nervous about applying for the program. “I did the video one hour before submitting my application. Later, one of the directors told me that it was one of his favourite audition videos, so I was very happy” said Beyan. “He also said that that Leah and I were among those applicants that they did not hesitate about while making the selection.” O’Sullivan is equally proud of her students for getting into the program. “I'm incredibly proud of all of the AUIS students that auditioned for the workshop. It was not an easy thing to do, and I witnessed some great acting from many of our students. I'm thrilled that out of the 35 spots available, two of them were filled by AUIS students. Leah and Beyan are great examples of how the dramatic arts can help students. They've both been involved with Drama for multiple semesters and it's been really amazing to watch them change and grow as actresses. As a teacher, I feel incredibly lucky to have young women like them to work with.” Talking about the rare opportunity to work and train with professionals in the field, both agreed that it especially helped them to learn how to use their bodies and movement on stage. “I thought being on stage was all about emotions and acting. But, they did all these lifts and moves and they were so smooth. I feel more connected to my body now after working with them. They made us know our minds, what we are thinking, our emotions and our bodies, and that's very difficult,” explained Leah. Beyan echoed Leah’s thoughts, “I’ve always wanted to be on a stage where there isn’t just acting, but there’s movement, and there’s singing and dancing. They taught us to be confident on stage and to do whatever was required at the moment,” she said. The Home Grown production, Dhow Under the Sun, received great response from the audience. “Kevin Spacey cried at the end! He said he couldn’t help it because we were all so good,” said Leah excitedly. Spacey personally spent two hours coaching the participants during the workshop. “I still have quotes from him on my notebook. Every now and then I go back  to them so I don’t forget what I want in life and my acting career,” added Beyan. But, the Home Grown experience wasn’t just about acting; it was also about learning to accept differences, and to start new friendships, especially in the backdrop of the current crises in the Middle East. Leah agreed that they went with some perceptions about the other nationalities. “Before I went there, I never felt like I belonged to the Middle East! I was wondering about how I would get along with all of them,” she said, “But soon it felt like the borders weren’t even there. It started feeling like one country, like one Middle East.” “What was also amazing about this program was that everybody was accepted without thinking about gender, race, mentality or anything! ” Leah continued, “Everyone had something that was different. There was a spark in each of them, and you wanted to know them. They were all so creative!” Leah and Beyan have exciting plans for the future with their new friends after finishing this program. Out of the 35 Home Grown cast members, 18 have come together to write a play that they hope to perform in Jordan. “We don’t want this experience to fade away. This is not only going to help us. We’re just starting it but other people might want to join us later. It will be like an institution.” they said. The group members are currently working on the script.   The two students also have a personal project of their own. The writer of the Home Grown production, Hassan Abdulrazzak, is of Iraqi descent, and the girls want to introduce his plays to the local audience. “We want to bring his work to AUIS, and through AUIS promote him in the country. That’s our personal project. We want to have one of his plays that talks about a lot of issues in our society. I think it’s a great honor for us to bring his plays here,” they said. They credit the AUIS Drama Club, and especially O’Sullivan, for recognizing, building and appreciating their talent.  “I never thought I was good on stage until I started practicing with Liz,” said Beyan, “It’s great that AUIS has a drama club. If we didn’t have it, we would not have been able to do anything. Here, in Iraq, we don’t have very good acting schools. The society is not very encouraging.” Leah agreed with her, “I would have never known I wanted to be an actress if I had not come to this university. Liz really cares about each student’s passion and the theatre. She is an incredible woman. She made us discover who we are as actors.”

AUIS Drama Presents Twelve Angry (Wo)men

“Better than ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer” – Sir William Blackstone (1765) American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) presented a play, which was adapted from the original play ‘Twelve Angry Men,’ by Reginald Rose. The play, directed by Elizabeth O’Sullivan, head of the drama club, was performed by University’s students and staff. The play is based on the U.S. judicial system, where a person accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty. It is up to the prosecution to convince the twelve people on the jury that the accused is guilty. If the jury cannot come to an agreement, they declare a hung jury and the case has to be prosecuted again with a new jury. The show was originally written for 12 men, but AUIS casted 12 women. “Part of our workshop was discussing the challenges an actress faces when a role is switched from male to female,” explained Sullivan. “How do gender stereotypes affect the decisions women make, and how does the meaning change when different people say the same line.” The production of the play was an experimental workshop, and emphasized learning and developing a variety of skills, both on and off stage. The cast and crew learned how to equally share their input in all aspects of the production, including set design, photography, costumes and line delivery. “We created the show as a team,” Sullivan said, “and because of the support from our community at AUIS we were able to deliver performance at its best.” Check out the photos on Facebook.
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