Visiting Theatre Production: Hkeelee (Talk to Me)

The department of Communication Arts is proud to announce a unique visiting theatre production: Hkeelee (Talk to Me). This is a storytelling performance by Lebanese American actress, writer and teaching artist Leila Buck about the lives and losses of her Lebanese grandparents and her journey to uncover their stories, and with them, her own.

Eight years ago, Leila’s Lebanese grandmother began to lose her memory.  So Leila began recording her Teta’s stories, and weaving them into a theatrical work about her grandparents’ journey from Lebanon to the U.S. and beyond.  In 2014 she presented the piece through Zoukak Theatre company’s Sidewalks program.  This winter, in Washington, DC, her grandmother passed away.  Now, for the first time since that loss, Leila will return to Beirut to share her grandparents’ stories, and to bring a part of them, and herself, home. Weaving traditional storytelling and solo performance, Leila moves between her Teta’s voice and her own, as each attempts to understand what it is she must remember.  The result is an interactive exploration of family, memory, language, loss, leaving, returning, and starting over - of what we hold onto, what we let go, and how those choices come to shape who we are.

When? Monday, April 27, at 7:00 pm

Where? GulbenkianTheatre, LAU Beirut Campus 

Leila Buck is a New York-based Lebanese American writer and teaching artist who has lived, performed and taught storytelling and drama for cross-cultural engagement across the U.S., Australia, Europe and in eight Arab countries.  She was Artistic Director of Nisaa Arab-American Women’s Collective and Education Director of Nibras Arab-American Theater Collective in New York, with whom she edited and performed in THE PANEL -a satire based on dialogues with Arab American women about the challenges of representing their experiences -  and SAJJIL (RECORD) - an investigation of what it means to be Arab in America (Winner, Best Ensemble, NY Fringe 2002).  She is currently artist-in-residence for Wesleyan University’s Doris Duke Foundation Building Bridges grant, teaching and creating a piece with students, faculty and community members about the (mis)representation of Muslim women in the U.S. and beyond.  Writing highlights: IN THE CROSSING (Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Brooklyn Museum, Culture Project -Women Center Stage.) HKEELEE (TALK TO ME):  Culture Project - WCS; Arab-American National Museum; Special Jury Prize, Middle East America; Acting highlights: AFTERMATH (Based on interviews with Iraqi refugees - New York Theatre Workshop/International Tour -Drama League nomination); SCORCHED (Wilma Theatre-Barrymore Award). Press/publication: American Theatre magazine; NY Times; Etching Our Own Image: Voices from the Arab American Art Movement; Four Arab-American Plays.  Member: Emerging Writers Group- Public Theater; Usual Suspect - New York Theatre Workshop.  M.A.- Educational Theatre/Middle East Studies - NYU.  B.A. - Wesleyan University.  For full CV/more