What’s an Artist to Do: Performing Arts for Change in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia

Irwin Hall Theatre, Beirut campus

LAU’s School of Arts and Sciences invites you to a talk titled What’s an Artist to Do: Performing Arts for Change in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, presented by Dr. Bryan Reynolds, Claire Trevor professor of drama at UC Irvine.  

Abstract: Art and political action have intermeshed for millennia; their analysis was a cornerstone of the development of critical theory and then cultural studies. This dynamic has intensified as communications technologies have made the possibilities of artistic creation, circulation, and production unprecedentedly inexpensive and wide-reaching. In both Africa and the Middle East, where advanced forms of communications technologies coexist with extreme poverty, the still strong traditional modes of public communication and artistic representation, protest, activist and/or political art remain among the most powerful weapons available to citizens struggling against politically and socially oppressive and/or economically exploitative systems. In his talk, Dr. Reynolds will share some of his experiences making political performing arts or “performance activism” with collaborators at various sites in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia over the last 10 years. The projects Dr. Reynolds will discuss coincide with his ongoing research with Mark LeVine on performance activism worldwide.

Biography: Dr. Reynolds is Chancellor’s Professor and Claire Trevor Professor of Drama at the University of California, Irvine. He received his PhD in English and American Literature from Harvard University, and his BA in English Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. He has held visiting professorships at the University of London-Queen Mary; University of Amsterdam; Utrecht University; University of Cologne; University College Utrecht; Goethe University Frankfurt; University of California-San Diego; American University of Beirut; University of Tsukuba, Japan; Klagenfurt University, Austria; University of Nairobi, Kenya; and University of Lorraine, France. And he has taught seminars and workshops at Deleuze Camp, The Grotowski Institute, Beirut’s Live Lactic Culture, Cairo’s Nahda Arts School, the Gdańsk International Shakespeare Festival, and the Jenin Freedom Theatre, among other academic and arts institutions. He is the artistic director of the Amsterdam-based Transversal Theater Company, a director of theater, a performer, and a playwright, whose plays have been produced in the United States, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. His academic books include Intermedial Theater: Performance Philosophy, Transversal Poetics, and the Future of AffectTransversal Subjects: From Montaigne to Deleuze after DerridaTransversal Enterprises in the Drama of Shakespeare and his Contemporaries: Fugitive ExplorationsPerforming Transversally: Reimagining Shakespeare and the Critical Future; and Becoming Criminal: Transversal Performance and Cultural Dissidence in Early Modern England. He is editor of Performance Studies: Key Words, Concepts, and Theories; and co-editor of The Return of Theory in Early Modern English Studies: Tarrying with the Subjunctive, Volumes I & II; Critical Responses to Kiran DesaiRematerializing Shakespeare: Authority and Representation on the Early Modern English Stage; and Shakespeare Without Class: Misappropriations of Cultural Capital. He is also co-general editor of a book series, Performance Interventions, from Palgrave Macmillan. Reynolds is a regular contributor to Freeskier Magazine.