I was enjoying yet another delicious dinner at Rahel on Fairfax last night, when the flyer to the right caught my eye. This Saturday night, March 29, Wole Soyinka—President’s Professor in Residence for the Marymount Institute (not to mention writer, poet, playwright, and Nobel Literature Laureate)—will be directing a performance piece based on his poem “Samarkand.”
The event, which will take place in the Sunken Garden and is free and open to the public, will “capture the market imagery from Soyinka’s book of poems titled Samarkand and Other Markets I Have Known. The market will be complete with international merchants, performances of all kinds, and staged readings by accomplished international actors, including Danny Glover, CCH Pounder, and Michael Learned.”
I’m pretty bummed out that previous obligations will keep me from attending. If you go, post your review in comments.
Click for more details.
From the LMU site: This market will be working from 6-8:15pm. We will have vendors from every culture—from Ethiopians performing coffee rituals to Salvadorian pupusas; Chinese herbalists; Greek retsina vendors; there will be people selling books, art, trinkets, rugs, spices, and incense—there will be cafes, hookah bars, etc. There will be strolling musicians as well as break-dancers, Latin dancers, belly-dancers, etc., entertaining throughout (many of these groups are student run). LMU will not only be represented by students but by professors who will be doing what we do all day at a University: selling ideas. Professors of Classics may be selling speeches by Plato; professors of Philosophy might be selling a Kantian reading of evil. Against this backdrop we will have a group of student “actors” and members of the community representing people and situations commonly found in the marketplace…street urchins, thieves, beggars etc.
At 8:30 the performance will begin—erupting in the marketplace and lead by the “market muse”, a wonderful and talented dancer, Mecca Andrews. There will be lots of African drumming and dancing as well as Yoruba songs throughout the performance. The performance will be both inter-cultural and ecumenical. Assembled religious groups and leaders will emerge dressed in their representative clothes. They will join in a procession which will culminate in a call to worship given by all participating faiths. The poem will then be read in concert of all actors who participate in various spots throughout the marketplace—the entire piece ending as the audience processes into the Chapel for the final poem, a call to tolerance and understanding called, “A Vision of Peace.”
One other important part of the piece is its emphasis on social justice. The poem celebrates the marketplace as a space of tolerance and global understanding and it also traces those things that can and do destroy this kind of utopian vision: racism, nationalism, and fundamentalism. As part of the spectacle we will be projecting images of the banned books and the “notorious persecuted.”