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Rayya El Zein


Haletna bel Romancy

[Concert poster, Hamra Street, Beirut. Photo by Rayya El Zein.]

Concert Review and Interview: Mashrou' Leila, Beirut Hippodrome, July 29, 2011. Yalla, conjure your stereotype. Humid, jasmine-scented nights; hot, diesel-loaded days; pockmarked buildings; the blue Mediterranean crashing on the popular Corniche boardwalk; Lebanese women; Lebanese men; the middle of 2011 in the middle of the Middle East…a thousand and one nights? Go for it. Get yourself an image of Beirut. Beirut, the fortress of yesteryear, the metropolis of ...

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Prose of a Growing Movement

[Yassin Alsalman's

Yassin Alsalman, The Diatribes of a Dying Tribe. Write or Wrong / Paranoid Arab Boy Publishing, 2011. www.iraqi­ It’s a good time for a lyric exposé from an Iraqi-Canadian aged 25. Not that there could be such a thing as a bad time for one. With the “Arab Spring” turning the volume up, so to speak, of voices from the Arab world, “Westerners” building new ideas about the “East” are looking for different speakers and new narratives. Increasingly, it’s ...

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Urge (to Keep) Going

[A scene from

Urge for Going. By Mona Mansour. Directed by Hal Brooks. Through April 17, Public LAB, The Public Theater, New York, NY. Urge for Going, Mona Mansour’s new work in development, is a coming-of-age story built from the outside in. Her 90-minute play follows Jamila, a seventeen-year-old Palestinian preparing to take the Baccalaureate on the eve of her graduation from a UN school in Beirut, Lebanon. Surrounded by her two uncles, her parents, and her brain-damaged brother, Jul, ...

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Rayya El Zein


Rayya El Zein is working towards a PhD in Theatre at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She maintains a blog of critical reactions to theatre she’s seen at She has just begun a project of collating material about trends in global theatre and performance on Twitter at @g00gletheatre.