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New Era Newspaper Friday September 1, 2017

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22 DRAMA entertainment

22 DRAMA entertainment Friday, 01 September 2017 | NEW ERA A Dangerous Boat Ride to a Better Life in ‘Al-Shaqaf’ Youssra El-Sharkawy A scene from ‘Al-Shaqaf’. Striving for a better life and buffeted by conflicts and injustice in their home countries, a group of Arab and African refugees board a boat bound for Italy in a journey they know may lead them to death. This familiar premise, which plays out nearly every day on the Mediterranean, is the subject of the Tunisian-Canadian theatre production ‘Al-Shaqaf’ (colloquial Tunisian for the small boat that carries illegal migrants). Sereen Ezzeddine Qanoun, daughter of the late Tunisian theatre icon, Ezzeddine Qanoun (1953-2015), and Magdi Bou- Matar, a Lebanese-Canadian director jointly directed the play. The play is dedicated to the memory of Qanoun, who founded Centre Arabo-Africain de formation et de Recherches Theatrales (the Arab-African Centre for Training and Theatrical Research), and headed the well-known Al-Hamra Theatre in Tunis until his death. ‘Al-Shaqaf’ was his final dream, and he was planning to perform it in 2015 at the opening of Carthage Theatre Days, a large Tunisian theatre festival. But he died before completing it, so his daughter Sereen, an actress who worked with her father over the past 21 years, carried on her father’s incomplete project with the help of Bou-Matar, premiering it at the 2016 edition of Carthage Theatre Days. There are plans to tour the show to Canada and Europe in the coming months. “I felt that it is a great responsibility to direct this play after my father passed away,” says Sereen. “We followed his legacy and adopted his style. He was not only a director, but a whole school.” A scene from ‘Al-Shaqaf’. Because ‘Al-Shaqaf’ would be her debut as a theatre director, Sereen decided to bring on a co-director. She selected Bou-Matar because he was one of her father’s “excellent students,” she says. Bou-Matar emigrated from Lebanon to Canada in 2003, where he’s the artistic director at the MT Space in Kitchener, Ontario. The one-hour play, which is performed in various Arabic dialects, and in French, was created as an improvisation of the real stories of desperate refugees who escaped from their countries for different reasons. “We decided the scenes, me and Bou-Matar, according to the research that we made on the topic, and then the actors improvised the dialogues,” says Sereen. “This is Qanoun’s style that we adopt.” Of the eight main characters in the play, four are Tunisians; the rest represent a cross-section of the region’s refugee crisis. “Not only Syrians who escape the war and jump in an illegal migration boat in the Mediterranean,” Sereen says, “but other people from different nationalities also pushed by the hard situations in their countries or societies and decide to escape.” For some, sexual orientation can be a reason to choose illegal migration; society rejects one character, a Tunisian man, for being gay. Politics is another reason to flee: One character is a Tunisian political activist pursued by police. The region’s most urgent crisis is depicted in the character of a Syrian woman, portrayed by Nada al-Homosi, who spends all her money to board the boat to Italy, but not for her own sake: She is searching for her son, who had taken a previous boat to Italy. Tragically, she is told halfway through her voyage that her son died en route. Some ironies surface: One Lebanese refugee character presents herself as a Syrian national because she has learned that “the priority is for Syrians.” A couple with a baby, who have left everything behind to escape oppression and racism in hopes of a better future, represent Southern African refugees. “Many illegal migrants die every day at sea, but these people are only treated as numbers with few statistics that show their genders and nationalities – we don’t really know them,” Sereen says. “Who were those people and what were their stories? Each person has his own story. That was our point of view when producing the play. “This is the issue of the century,” she continues. “It’s not related to one country; it touches every Arab and African country. It touches the countries that receive refugees.” To create the effect of a boat sailing on the sea, the directors used a trampoline, stretched tautly over a steel frame, with some paddles suspended from it, in front of a black background. All the performers are members of Quanoun’s Centre Arabo-Africain, where he trained several generations of young artists from many countries, including Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin, Nigeria, and Mali. After receiving ‘The Best Text Award’ at the 2nd edition of Sharm el- Sheikh International Theatre Festival for Youth, last April in Egypt, they expect ‘Al-Shaqaf’ to embark on make international tour countries including Canada, Germany, and France starting from August an running into next year. May its travels be more welcome and less deadly than the trips so many migrants make each day. – ART The woman behind West End’s first Nigerian musical Picture: Bolanle Austen-Peters Nigerian arts and culture promoter Bolanle Austen-Peters. Image courtesy of Bolanle Austen-Peters. Akinyi Ochieng During August, we are highlighting aspirational folks who are setting major goals and achieving them, and asking them to share their stories and insight to help motivate us all to “live our best lives”. These athletes, artists, fashionistas, scholars, entrepreneurs, and more, are a reminder to us all, that dreams are valid! Kicking off the series is arts mogul and producer, Bolanle Austen-Peters. After a high-flying career as an international lawyer, Bolanle Austen-Peters returned home to her native Nigeria to pursue her passion for art. In 2003, she founded Terra Kulture, Lagos’ premier arts and culture centre, to celebrate Nigeria’s rich cultural traditions. Over a decade later, Austen-Peters is now one of Nigeria’s foremost producers whose theatrical productions have received critical acclaim from Lagos to London. OkayAfrica spoke to Austen-Peters about her journey to success as she prepares to take her latest musical Saro! to London’s famed West End. Akinyi for OkayAfrica: You began as a lawyer before transitioning to the arts. What drew you to the arts first as a patron and then as a producer? Bolanle Austen-Peters: During secondary school, I fell in love with reading rather than calculating. I have always wanted to dance and I loved theatre. In those days, however, you had to study a professional course, so I decided to study law. I continued to love the arts even while studying law. After working all over the world for the United Nations as a lawyer, I returned to Nigeria and decided to follow my passion for arts promotion. In 2003, I set up Terra Kulture – first as an art gallery then as a cultural, lifestyle, and educational centre. A few years later, I became a producer and a director and set up BAP Productions as a company that produces stage plays. Saro! The musical was our first major production. Today, Terra Kulture leads Nigeria’s cultural preservation. Since our launch, we’ve organised over 200 art exhibitions, 135 plays, 65 book readings, and over 10,000 people have attended our language classes. As Nigeria’s presence grows on the global stage, it’s essential that our history and culture be celebrated. OkayAfrica: At the outset, what was your biggest dream for what Terra Kulture could accomplish? Do you feel that you’ve achieved those goals, and how have the goalposts shifted? Bolanle Austen-Peters: Initially, I simply wanted a space where I could create a platform for the promotion of visual arts, literature, theatre and basically every art form that identifies us as Nigerians. We keep pushing the envelope. Through team effort and hard work and by God’s grace, we have surpassed some of our expectations. We started one of the lead auction houses in partnership with Mydrim Gallery. We have tried our hands at movie making with the production of ‘No Good Turn’, a short movie, and ‘93 Days’ featuring Danny Glover, Bimbo Akintola, and many other talented Nigerian actors. ‘93 Days’ received over fifty nominations and won numerous awards both locally and internationally. The Toronto Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival and the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles selected it for premiering and viewing, and industry experts have described the movie as ‘Powerful’, ‘Incredible, ‘Best of Nigeria’ and “a new dawn for Nigerian movies” We have gone on to produce some of Nigeria’s finest stage plays including Saro! and Wakaa! The Musical, and broke boundaries as the first Nigerian musical to show in London’s West End. We keep working hard as there is so much to do and, God willing, we hope to achieve even greater goals. We also have the first privately owned theatre in Lagos, Nigeria. OkayAfrica: Is there anything you wish you knew about arts and culture as a business before you founded Terra Kulture? Bolanle Austen-Peters: All businesses are the same. The same template that works for banking works for the arts. I had proper training from the London School of Business and Economics where I obtained a master’s degree, so I went into the business of arts and culture armed with the requisite information. What I did not know, I learned on the job as an executive director. OkayAfrica: Wakaa! The Musical was the first Nigerian musical to come to London’s West End. How did you convince people to embrace your vision, and why do you think it was such a success? Bolanle Austen-Peters: Over the past fourteen years, we have built a brand associated with excellence. With that, it’s easy to find partners willing to embrace my vision. Wakaa! The Musical is based on relatable stories based on our polity and lives. It is a political satire that brings colour, precision in choreography, stellar acting, and elegant costumes to the stage. At Terra Kulture, we focus on flawless execution, so people already know that it’s high-quality and that is why I think it was a resounding success. Wakaa! was the first Nigerian musical to go international, and now Saro! OkayAfrica: What is one opportunity you would still like to pursue, and why? Bolanle Austen-Peters: I would like to produce a lot more movies. We need to have own our narratives and showcase our works for global consumption. In addition, we keep producing bigger and better stage plays and musicals to enable us to create more jobs and develop the skills of young talent. –

Friday, 01 September 2017 | NEW FEATURE The other lifestyle CUISINE Friendship Dynamics People change; it is part of the growing process. Good friends embrace, respect and celebrate each other’s personal growth throughout the seasonal changes of life. You might feel a sense of comfort and familiarity with people that you grew up with because these friends are often what results into life-long connections. You become accustomed to seeing your childhood friends develop during different phases of their lives and this experience is mutual. When you make new friends, especially during adulthood, it is human nature to form what are called first impressions. However, those initial encounters don’t necessarily give you a clear indication of another person’s complexities. You can only truly become friends when you get to know each other personally by spending quality time together and finding common ground. Life will present you with turning points that will directly or indirectly affect your friendships. These are times when major changes happen such as pursuing a new career, getting married, having a baby or moving to a new location. Some changes can be devastating, such as becoming unemployed, losing a spouse or enduring health related issues. When moments of transformation occur, your friendships need to have strong foundations of love, respect, trust and loyalty to withstand modifications. Communication is the key to understanding each other during various phases of achievements and disappointments, and it’s important to know how to compromise and sympathise. Sometimes, people feel left out when their friends pursue new ventures that change their outlook on life and ultimately, the dynamic of the friendship. You need to let go off the old-versions of your friends and embrace them as they grow and change into new versions of themselves. We often hear people say “He/she has changed after that happened”, which is indeed correct because everything we experience will bring about a change within us. It’s not rational to expect your friends to remain exactly the same way they were when you met them three, five or ten years ago. Likewise, you are constantly developing in your own unique way. When you truly care about your friends, you will be happy to see them achieve their goals, cheer them on when they win and encourage them to stand up when they fall. Negativity and envy are toxic; do not allow these pessimistic emotions to destroy your friendships. You have the choice to either grow together with a friend or to grow apart. It’s all up to how much you value that friendship. Sometimes you may genuinely love your friend but the direction they want to go in life doesn’t align with yours, so if you can’t compromise, then it might be best to let them go and wish them well. It’s possible for friends to grow collectively throughout life, even when they have different ideas and goals, but only when mutual respect and steadfastness is present in the friendship. Beauty Ndapanda is a lifestyle blogger/ writer. Her articles include wellness and beauty tips to help readers look and feel their best, while her topics on introspection examine thoughts and emotional processes for navigating through life’s ups and downs. Wining, dining with donkey meat tonight Staff Reporter Windhoek Windhoek socialites can indulge themselves with wine and the delicacy of donkey meat tonight with the return of the Donkey Meat and Wine Pairing dinner at the Old Location restaurant in Windhoek West. After successfully hosting the first festival in 2013, Tao’s Kitchen is back with the dinner. Mpule Sezuni and Tao Soni !Noarises, who won the Donkey Meat Cook-off competition in 2013, will host the dinner. !Noarises hopes the festival attracts 300- 400 patrons from all walks of life to celebrate culture in an urban setting. The second instalment follows by popular demand from the public. Considering that many Namibians still have misconceptions about donkey meat, the duo have decided to make the dinner an annual event to promote the eating of donkey meat and make it a sought-after delicacy. “The dinner will stake its claim as one of the ‘go-to’ events on Namibia’s social calendar,” !Noarises says. While the event mainly aims to promote donkey meat, she adds that there will also be other meat platters for those who do not eat donkey meat. “But what is very certain is that after that dinner, all those who profess not to eat donkey meat will come out of that event as the biggest ambassadors of donkey meat. They must be sure of that,” !Noarises boasts. They will entertain guests with traditional music, dance and poetry, apart from the meat and other treats. The identities of these artists will remain secret until closer to the event, !Noarises says enticingly Hee-haw... The Donkey Meat and Wine Pairing dinner tonight at the Old Location Restaurant in Windhoek West will also have donkey chilly bites and dried sausage on offer. entertainment NSK Industry 23 29 My predictions: SYM Lifestyle and Fashion Awards 2017 If I happen to get any of the predictions wrong, kindly send me a mail at, to demand a retraction. FAVOURITE STYLIST: While you are playing groupie things with Bonang…Loux is on CNN!!!! So hell yeah my vote goes to the ONLY Vintage Guru! Favourite Female Actress: On a serious note…we all know that Captain Kalola was one of the biggest films in recent years, hence…Top Cherrie what what sobiso. #BaainaarPride FAVOURITE MALE MODEL: Tove! Why Tove? Because Tove is different! And difference sells these days. Difference is cool. That’s why people love My Neega Get Lich! FAVOURITE FEMALE MODEL: So who else attended her dog’s funeral? It was a lovely ceremony you guys. FAVOURITE EMERGING DESIGNER: I know, I know Lafika…I still owe you that call. Tell you what? Win and you’ll get that call from the Damara axa. FAVOURITE BLOGGER: Leah Misika is a BEAST!!! You know it, I know it..ousi even your ex knows it! FAVOURITE FASHION DESIGNER: People caught feelings with this category. Kama where is Roberto, McBright…blah blah blah. Roberto for whom? McBright for whaaati? Ingo sobiso! Again #BaainaarPride FAVOURITE MAKE-UP ARTIST: Miss Jey!!! You know why? Because she does not make her clients look like dead people! FAVOURITE COMEDIAN: Ekse nou what type of apartheid is this that you people did not nominate Lloyd? I’m catching now! I would’ve have given it to Courage but yoh bruh…one cannot ignore the work Mark has put in. So because of sheer work rate, I’m going for Mark! FAVOURITE DJ: I said many times on this platform that I hate a DJ who plays House all night!! Imagine House for six straight hours! Nee man! KFC’s would’ve gotten my stamp of approval here but eish outies…forgive me man. I’m running with Afroberries #BaainaarPrideAGAIN FAVOURITE MALE ACTOR: Yoh Yoh Yoh… this is a tough one! Dice is a rookie who just entered the industry but is killing it! Adriano is actor royalty! But this is Ashwin’s time! Adriano wag eers tog… you already have that other ka award in the bag mos. FAVORITE Celebrity COUPLE: This is insanely tough! This has to be the toughest category! Dyna and hubby have been working! Successful CD launch, her music everywhere and hubby standing by her. Oteya and hubby have been working as well! Successful show at the Warehouse with hubby standing by her. But yoh…the two that are ALWAYS together in EVERYTHING has to be Sally and hubby. I’m giving it to them! FAVOURITE PHOTOGRAPHER: Bleh FAVOURITE RADIO DJ: *NSK has left the group* Until the next loop, we say “GMTM”! Song of the week: Daster: ‘Volunteer’ Flop of the week: Daster: ‘Step by Step’… (First time I have one artist for both the song of the week and flop of the week.) NSK is a professional MC. For bookings, email or @naobebsekind (twitter)

New Era

New Era Newspaper Vol 22 No 167