News Column

Mishkal 13 shows the growth of the art community

September 19, 2013


Sept. 19--BEIRUT -- The second edition of the Mishkal Festival was inaugurated Tuesday evening at Masrah al-Madina.

Founder of the theater Nidal al-Achkar, artistic director Nagy Souraty, dancer and choreographer Georgette Jebara and writer and theater pioneer Mounir Abou Debs, along with founder of Wadi Abu Jamil's Music Hall and Emperor of Nowheristan Michel Elefteriades, were all present to celebrate the opening of this festival "by the youth, for the youth."

During the opening ceremony, Achkar awarded Jebara and Abou Debs with a key to the theater, showing her gratitude for their involvement in the country's cultural scene.

One of Elefteriades' stable of in-house bands -- or "his noble subjects" as he calls them -- wore military uniforms and played songs by Michael Jackson and Pink Floyd, along with other compositions in Arabic, to start the show.

The opening show gave organizers an opportunity to reveal the extensive lineup for this year's Mishkal, a festival in which art, music, film screenings, photography and theater will mingle together until Sept. 21, in an effort to offer up an outstanding panorama of the youthful contribution to Lebanon's art's scene.

Souraty said the relative success of this year's festival was demonstrated by the growing number of applicants. More than 340 applications were submitted this year, compared to 120 for the previous edition.

"To create a festival is one thing," he said, "but doing it as an annual rendezvous is another."

Theater representations -- which start at precisely 8:08 p.m. -- will tackle such themes as identity, patriarchal society, the importance of technology, memories and the role of the Israeli separation wall, through works by students and graduates of the Lebanese American University, the Institute of Fine Arts and Ghassan Yammine's Art School.

The film lineup also promises to tackle numerous concepts. Students and graduates from Harvard University, IEASAV-USJ, ALBA, LAU, USEK, Manilla's De La Salle College of Saint Benilde and NYU Tisch School of the Arts will present their productions on memories, introspection, clothes, paranormal manifestations and the burden of traditions. Each screening will start at 9:09 p.m.

Musical performances will also invade the Madina Theater at a variety of hours. Original compositions by Beiruti band Guru will plunge the audience into a realm influenced by a wide range of artists. Rock and blues will also mingle through a collaboration between Chris Thomas and Abe Younan. Lebanese singer Maya Hobeika will officially launch her new album "WARD" during a special concert on Sept. 20.

Rock and classical music will resonate in the theater courtesy of Sami Nassour Trio. Another interesting blend will happen on Sept. 19, with the live collaborative work of pianist Dany Bou-Maroun and three painters, Maya Akiki, Clara Chidiac and Darine Semaan. Lebanese-Palestinian musician Rhea Dally will present her electronic music on Sept. 19 and 21. Those more into improvisation, meanwhile, will surely appreciate Martin Loyato's trumpet improv.

Art and photography will also be featured during the festival. Artwork by such artists as Maral Der Boghossian, Ziad Ismail, Mahmoud Baayoun, Chris Assoury and Raghad Hazzazi -- to name a few -- will show the talents of our young generation.

Mishkal 13 will take place in Masrah al-Madina until Sept. 21. For more information, please visit


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