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Products for grant FEL-262925-19

FEL-262925-19
Theatre on the Arabian Peninsula
Katherine Hennessey, American University of Kuwait

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FEL-262925-19

Theatre on the Arabian Peninsula (Book)
Title: Theatre on the Arabian Peninsula
Author: Katherine Hennessey
Abstract: Manuscript in progress
Year: 2022
Type: Single author monograph
Copy sent to NEH?: No

Interpreting Othello in the Arabian Gulf: Shakespeare in a Time of Blackface Controversies (Article)
Title: Interpreting Othello in the Arabian Gulf: Shakespeare in a Time of Blackface Controversies
Author: Katherine Hennessey
Abstract: This article opens with some brief observations on the phenomenon of Arab blackface—that is, of Arab actors “blacking up” to impersonate black Arab or African characters—from classic cinematic portrayals of the warrior-poet Antara Ibn Shaddad to more recent deployments of blackface in the Arab entertainment industry. It then explores the complex nexus of race, gender, citizenship and social status in the Arabian Gulf as context for a critical reflection on the author’s experience of reading and discussing Othello with students at the American University of Kuwait—discussions which took place in the fall of 2019, in the midst of a wave of controversies sparked by instances of Arab blackface on television and in social media.
Year: 2020
Primary URL: https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/szekspir/article/view/9362
Access Model: open access
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Multicultural Shakespeare: Translation, Appropriation and Performance
Publisher: Multicultural Shakespeare: Translation, Appropriation and Performance

‘Darkness Around Our Dreams’: What the 2020 National Theatre Festival Tells Us About Contemporary Yemen (Article)
Title: ‘Darkness Around Our Dreams’: What the 2020 National Theatre Festival Tells Us About Contemporary Yemen
Author: with on-site reporting by Shroq Alramadi
Author: Katherine Hennessey
Abstract: This article explores the content and the significance of the plays performed at the 2020 Festival of Yemeni Theatre, held that year in the Yemeni city of Al-Mukalla. The article argues that, despite the festival's history as a vehicle for artistic collaboration and pan-Yemeni unity, the 2020 productions and the controversies that sprung up around the awarding of festival prizes reflect a national mood of anger, frustration, North-South suspicion, and an overall sense of helplessness and despair in the face of the ongoing conflict.
Year: 2021
Access Model: Forthcoming. Subscription initially, then open access via Facebook
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Jemen-Report
Publisher: Jemen-Report - Deutsch-Jemenitische Gesellschaft

Why Theatre Matters: Three Scenes from the Arabian Peninsula (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Why Theatre Matters: Three Scenes from the Arabian Peninsula
Abstract: An exploration of the content and significance of three recent theatrical productions from the Arabian Peninsula: Habiba Al-Abdullah's "A Bite," which takes a short story by Anton Chekhov as its inspiration and applies it to the problem of "wasta" (nepotism/cronyism) in Kuwait; Talal Mahmoud's "Four o'clock," which illustrates the challenges faced by Gulf citizens who suffer from various forms of obsessive-compulsive disorder; and "Salvation," by Abd al-Khaliq Sayf al-Jabri, which comments pointedly on the roles played by Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the current violent conflict in Yemen.
Author: Katherine Hennessey
Date: 04/26/2021
Location: online, hosted by American University of Kuwait

‘Body Armour Against the Censor’s Whip’ in West Asia: Shakespeare and Socio-Political Critique on the Arabian Peninsula (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: ‘Body Armour Against the Censor’s Whip’ in West Asia: Shakespeare and Socio-Political Critique on the Arabian Peninsula
Author: Katherine Hennessey
Abstract: The late Egyptian theatre critic Nehad Selaiha once described the various levels of censorship in the Arabian Gulf as so suffocating as to burden theatre-makers with “a feeling of being incarcerated, besieged and having to speak through metaphors and symbols.” Bahraini scholar Ibrahim Abdullah Ghalloom has likewise argued that censorship by government officials has robbed theatre of its ability to challenge existing pieties; theatre is permitted to exist only to “consolidate the status quo, be it religious, political, or ethical.” These claims are borne out in my interviews with the region’s theatre practitioners, who lament the knee-jerk reactions of official censors to any script that even touches upon the topics of religion, sex, or politics. Under such circumstances, Shakespeare—whose plays decidedly do not shy away from presenting those topics—provides a rich source of inspiration, while the cultural cachet that adheres to his works allows theatre-makers a degree of protection from official censorship. This paper will examine the ways in which recent adaptations from the region use Shakespeare as, in the words of British-Kuwaiti playwright Sulayman Al Bassam, a form of “body armour” against “the censor’s whip,” allowing for instances of incisive socio-political critique that would otherwise be suppressed.
Date: 11/06/2020
Conference Name: Annual Meeting of the Asian Shakespeare Association

Interpreting Othello in the Gulf: Shakespeare in a Climate of Rising Xenophobia and Blackface Controversies (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Interpreting Othello in the Gulf: Shakespeare in a Climate of Rising Xenophobia and Blackface Controversies
Author: Katherine Hennessey
Abstract: This presentation discussed the author's experience teaching Shakespeare's Othello to students in Kuwait during a time of increasingly xenophobic rhetoric in public spheres, and in the wake of a series of international scandals sparked by regional entertainers' use of blackface and anti-Black caricatures.
Date: 02/06/2020
Conference Name: Sultan Qaboos University's 4th International Conference on Language, Linguistics, Literarture, and Translation


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