1st Noor Festival Kicks Off in the Village

The first Noor Play Festival of short plays on Middle East-related topics is scheduled to take place at the Wings Theatre (154 Christopher Street) from April 13-15, 2008. Its mission, as the Arabic name noor (light) suggests, is to enlighten savvy theatergoers about the Middle East while entertaining them.I can’t wait to check out some of the productions but I personally have two bones to pick with the festival producers:

  1. why use of the Eurocentric term “Middle East” instead of the less historically problematic terms West Asian (which the UN uses) or Southwest Asian (which is geographically correct)? Why fall into the trap of defining yourself through a European perspective? and
  2. the inclusion of such a wide swath of the world (the website says “Iran, Afghanistan, Israel, Pakistan and all the Arab countries,” which means from Morocco to Pakistan) gives the impression that they are all the same or related, which is a stretch. This smacks of a contemporary variant of pan-Islamism though that probably wasn’t the producers’ intention. And why isn’t Turkey included? Perhaps they should consider limiting their focus.

Otherwise, this sounds like a noble effort that I hope succeeds.

Check out the website here. FYI, play submissions are accepted on an ongoing basis and those not selected for this year will be considered for subsequent years.

The featured short plays:


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