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Production description

Production website and reviews at Sulayman Al-Bassam Theatre (SABAB).

Dr. Margaret Litvin reviewed this production for the Shakespeare Bulletin when it was performed at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, February 8-17, 2007.

On February 24, 2009, Jim Lehrer’s Newshour, PBS (USA) aired an interview done by Jeffrey Brown with Sulayman Al-Bassam about Richard III: An Arab Tragedy. It was the second of a series of reports on the Arabesque arts festival at the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. [transcript, mp3]

On June 11, 2009, Ben Brantley wrote a review for The New York Times entitled, “Gloucester’s Emir, Handsome This Time.” [summary, full article]

A feature was also done by The New York Times on June 11, 2009 called “Anatomy of a Scene: ‘Richard III: An Arab Tragedy’,” with voice over by the director, Sulayman Al-Bassam.

Essay written by Margaret Litvin:

Shakespeare in the Arab World: Introduction

“Explosive Signifiers: Sulayman Al-Bassam’s Post-9/11 Odyssey,” Shakespeare Yearbook 20, Shakespeare After 9/11: How a Social Trauma Reshapes Interpretation (2011), 103-35.  (A revised version, updated for the most recent play, is forthcoming in Shakespeare and the Ethics of Appropriation, Alexander Huang and Elizabeth Rivlin, eds., Palgrave.)

Sulayman Al-Bassam in the Arab Shakespeare Tradition” – Essay commissioned by the Asia Society and BAM for the “Muslim Voices: Arts & Ideas” festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, June 2009

Review of Sulayman al-Bassam’s Richard III: An Arab Tragedy. In Shakespeare Bulletin 25:4 (Winter 2007), 85-91.

 Essays written by Graham Holderness:

Sulayman Al-Bassam’s An Arab Tragedy: Introduction

From Summit to Tragedy: Sulayman Al-Bassam’s Richard III and Political Theatre

Arabesque: Shakespeare and Globalisation

Arab Shakespeare


Comments (4):

  1. houda allouche says:

    I think the video need to be updated. I cannot watch it needs plug-in.Thank you

    • Belinda Yung says:

      Please try viewing the video again and let us know if the playback is successful.

  2. houda allouche says:

    Thank you. It is working.

  3. Dominique says:

    I’m so so glad you posted this – I saw it years ago in Brooklyn and have never forgotten this truly amazing adaptation and performance. I had never seen a finer or more creative shakespeare adaptation and I was waiting to find it on Broadway. That said, I will settle for watching it again online! Thank you for this amazing work.

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    Richard III: An Arab Tragedy

    Al-Bassam, Sulayman | Productions
    Sulayman Al-Bassam Theatre (SABAB)
    View productions by this company

    Source: Sulayman Al-Bassam

    Full video

    Note: This is the full video

    Duration: 02:00:09

    News Night










    Richard III: An Arab Tragedy (Spring 2009)

    Note: BAMorg — May 18, 2009 — Jun 9—12 at 7:30pm at BAM

    Sabab / Sulayman Al-Bassam Theatre (Kuwait)
    Adapted and directed by Sulayman Al-Bassam

    "Al-Bassam's work is about as original and pulse-quickening as you could wish." —The Times (UK )

    In an oil-rich kingdom, a dictator's bloody rise to power becomes an allegory of our own times in Richard III: An Arab Tragedy, Kuwaiti director Sulayman Al-Bassam's groundbreaking remake of Shakespeare's Machiavellian masterpiece. Grainy TV confessions, sophisticated propaganda, and a wealth of Arab music and ritual lend themes of leadership, religion, and foreign intervention an uncanny relevance, turning this classic play into a cautionary contemporary tale.

    This work was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company as part of the Complete Works Festival.

    Part of Muslim Voices: Arts & Ideas

    BAM Harvey Theater
    Running time: 110min, no intermission

    Subscription tickets: $20, 28, 36
    (Full price: $25, 35, 45)

    In Arabic with English titles






    Richard III "An Arab VIP" movie trailer

    Note: In Richard III "An Arab VIP", a documentary film crew follows a spectacular touring Arab production of Shakespeare's eponymous play as it moves from an initial rehearsal period in the oil-rich Arabian Gulf State of Kuwait to the charged atmosphere of a U.S. premiere at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and on to the United Arab Emirates - for a command performance at the behest of local princesses in Abu Dhabi. In between, the cast and crew assemble and disassemble in various cities across the Arab world -- Damascus, Beirut, Baghdad, Abu Dhabi -- and the process of breathing life into their fictional characters begins to take shape in a way that uncannily reflects the politics and turmoil that surrounds them...