How appropriate to launch The Theatres of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia: Performance Traditions of the Maghreb, a scholarly work by Khalid Amine and Marvin Carlson, at the Tangier American Legation. Why? Well, for one thing, the Legation property once housed a theatre.
"The Theatre Parcel" is noted on historic documents tracing the Legation's growth over the centuries (the property also included a brothel, we're told). Though there's been plenty of drama in the long history of Moroccan-American relations as witnessed at the Legation, we have only dabbled in the occasional performance.
Professors Amine and Carlson presented their work at TALIM in the context of the 2012 "Performing Tangier" conference, a yearly gathering of international experts of the Tangier-based International Center for Performance Studies (ICPS), presided by Dr. Khalid Amine of Abdelmalek Essaadi University in nearby Tetouan. Marvin Carlson is Distinguished Professor of Theatre at the Graduate Center of CUNY.
The Theatres of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia is a thorough work, but much more than a compendium of physical places and works by Maghrebi playwrights. Proceeding chronologically between pre-colonial, colonial, and post-independence eras, Amine and Carlson analyze such themes as traditional forms of expression, the role of theatre in the anti-colonial resistance movement, and developing national traditions.
Though published in 2012, the narrative was wrapped up in 2010, before the momentous events of the Arab Spring. But the gap was filled by this year's "Performing Tangier" conference, replete with presentations by Maghrebi scholars on highly topical subjects: self-immolation, the role of ridicule, "the Tahrir Square spectacle," etc.
ICPS continues its tradition of attracting theatre scholars and practicioners from the world over to Tangier, and we look forward to the proceedings of this year's conference, which will be an essential companion piece to Amine and Carlson's work. And we're thrilled that The Theatres of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia was launched at TALIM.