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Othello in Oman

Aḥmad al-Izkī’s Fusion of Shakespeare and Classical Arab Epic

Katherine Hennessey

Abstract

A recent work of theatre from Oman, Aḥmad al-Izkī’s al-Layla al-Ḥālika (The Dark Night, 2010), weaves together themes and characters from Shakespeare’s Othello and the pre-Islamic epic ‘Antara Ibn Shaddād, imagining a series of encounters which ultimately allow the protagonists to escape the tragic ending of Shakespeare’s play. This article argues that this juxtaposition performs a clever and well-placed intervention in ongoing socio-political debates on the Arabian Peninsula surrounding issues of identity, citizenship and political participation, and that the play argues for inclusivity and tolerance in the face of deep-seated racism and rising sectarianism. Furthermore, while al-Izkī’s script provides a happy ending, the 2010 production directed by ‘Abd al-Ghafūr al-Balūshī suggested a darker warning against the continuing threat of political, ethnic and sectarian divisions across the Gulf, a warning that subsequent events have borne out.

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The Taming of the Tigress

Faṭima Rushdī and the First Performance of Shrew in Arabic

David C. Moberly

-Siyāsa al-Usbu‘iyya 247 (29 November 1930): 22. 11 Mohamed A. Alkhozai, The Development of Early Arabic Drama, 1847–1900 (London: Longman, 1984), 164–66. 12 Said one critic in an article entitled ‘ ‘Āmmiyya in the Arabization of Shakespeare’s Play: On

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‘Shakespeare Had the Passion of an Arab’

The Appropriation of Shakespeare in Fadia Faqir’s Willow Trees Don’t Weep

Hussein A. Alhawamdeh

approach Modern scholarship reveals that the appropriation of Shakespeare and adaptation in Arabic literature commenced in the nineteenth century. Graham Holderness traces the influence of Shakespeare on Arabic drama: ‘It was not until the 19th century that