Funoon Blog

Welcome to the least serious pages of our website - Here you'll find Funoonies at work and play and discover our passion for dancing, dressing up, having fun, and eating cake. There's a lot goes into making a show like Funoon wa Alwane - and a lot of it goes on behind the scenes!

 
 

Wow! I was absolutely blown away by the wonderful show which commenced with a beautiful and highly illustrative description of how highly esteemed are the arts of music, singing, and dance within the Arabic culture. We were encouraged to imagine the full moon and stars illuminating the dark night and radiating their light on us and welcoming us to the event as beautiful decorative coloured lanterns in wonderful prisms of violet, lavender, maroon, crimson, and turquoise were gently carried around the stage bringing light to the inky velvety blackness of the theatre: a truly magical pregnant moment of exquisite beauty and poetry Then an imaginative evocation of the stars and full moon, the 14th moon highly venerated in Arabic literature and poetry, welcomed us to the gathering. As all of us who have lived in or visited the Middle East and Arabic countries have come to appreciate, Arabic/Islamic hospitality is legendary in its beneficence.

This highly evocative use of language replete with symbolism was continued throughout the show, making it a truly inspiring and nourishing combination for the mind, heart, soul, all of the senses, and the imagination.

I was so impressed by the costumes – authentic and highly original. It was like seeing one of the tales of The Arabian Nights or The Rubiyat of Omar Khyam come to life in front of my very eyes. All it lacked was Haroun al Rashid himself! It was obvious to me that Beverley Smith had undertaken a lot of research to create such authentic costumes, and I loved the costume worn by the compère.

What was so impressive about this theatre production was its presentation of Arabic culture within its own setting and context and not as a Western hybridisation or imaginary concoction that fails to appreciate, fully embrace, and honour the culture it purports to represent. In this show Arabic poetry, literature, tradition, culture are sincerely honoured and truthfully represented. And it was so lovely to see authentic and traditional costumes matched with authentic and traditional dances.

Our Middle Eastern friends who came with us were crying with happiness to experience the event and to witness their culture being so vivaciously presented and honoured.

The shisha tableau scene with Nawarra and Alex was very humorous and very entertaining. I understood from the announcement (in Arabic only) that it was a caricature of an unidentified, but well known and respected, Egyptian lady. I have my suspicions as to her identity!

It was wonderful, too, to see the rare beauty of Persian and Uzbek dances presented by a real jewel in the crown of the show. The beauty and elegance of the dancer - San’at Mahmudova - reminded me of the Armenian dancers who travelled the world (and who visited London) to share their culture and raise funds for the aid programme after the enormous earthquake that shook Armenia in 1988. I absolutely loved the accompanying narrative that the most accomplished of dancers were rewarded with gifts of precious jewels and the most exquisite peacock feathers. The costumes San’at wore were indeed beautiful and richly decorated with jewels and other embellishments. However for me, the real delight in the performance, other than her obvious beauty, were the grace and beauty of her extremely dexterous and expressive hands. She was ethereal – not of this earth. I was transported in my imagination to one of the renowned Caliphates of the Middle Ages.

Congratulations to Nawarra, Beverley and their team for a very entertaining evening, enriched by the symbolism, context and authenticity of Arabic and Middle Eastern culture. More please!

 

 

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