Wole Soyinka Presents 'Samarkand: Rites and Rituals of Markets Old and New'
Loyola Marymount University presents an international market with vendors from a multitude of cultures, followed by a performance of Nobel Prize winning author Wole Soyinka's poem. African drumming, dancing, Salvadorian pupusas, Chinese herbalists, Ethiopian coffee ceremony, Yoruba songs, Greek Retsina vendors, along with people selling books, spices, rugs, incense, and more!!
Saturday, March 29, 2008
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Sunken Garden of the University's Alumni Mall
Loyola Marymount University
1 LMU Drive (off Lincoln Blvd.)
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Wole Soyinka directs a performance piece based on his poem, preceded by an international marketplace.
- Market opens at 6 PM
- Performance begins at 8:30 PM
On Saturday, March 29th Wole Soyinka, the President's Professor in Residence for the Marymount Institute and Nobel Prize Winner for Literature (1986), is going to direct a performance piece based on a poem he wrote called, "Samarkand." The poem recaptures and recalls the market vibe, taking its cue from the ancient Yoruba saying, "The World is a Marketplace" and James Elroy Flecker's, "We take the Golden Road from Samarkand." It recalls the world's great markets from Portobello to Beirut, Caracas to Khourassan--and in response LMU is going to set up a global marketplace in the University's Sunken Gardens.
This market will be working from 6 - 8:15 PM. There will be vendors from a multitude of cultures—from Ethiopians performing coffee rituals to Salvadorian pupusas; Chinese herbalists; Greek retsina vendors and more. There will be people selling books, art, trinkets, rugs, spices, and incense—there will be cafes, hookah bars, etc. There will be strolling musicians as well as break-dancers, Latin dancers, belly-dancers, etc., entertaining throughout (many of these groups are student run). LMU will not only be represented by students, but by professors who will be doing what they do all day at a University: selling ideas. Professors of Classics may be selling speeches by Plato; professors of Philosophy might be selling a Kantian reading of evil. Against this backdrop LMU will have a group of student “actors” and members of the community representing people and situations commonly found in the marketplace…street urchins, thieves, beggars, etc.
At 8:30 the performance will begin—erupting in the marketplace and led by the “market muse”, a wonderful and talented dancer, Mecca Andrews. There will be lots of African drumming and dancing as well as Yoruba songs throughout the performance. The performance will be both inter-cultural and ecumenical. Assembled religious groups and leaders will emerge dressed in their representative clothes. They will join in a procession which will culminate in a call to worship given by all participating faiths. The poem will then be read in concert of all actors who participate in various spots throughout the marketplace—the entire piece ending as the audience processes into the Chapel for the final poem, a call to tolerance and understanding called, “A Vision of Peace.”
One other important part of the piece is its emphasis on social justice. The poem celebrates the marketplace as a space of tolerance and global understanding and it also traces those things that can and do destroy this kind of utopian vision: racism, nationalism, and fundamentalism. As part of the spectacle LMU will be projecting images of the banned books and the “notorious persecuted.”
“Samarkand” was originally commissioned for the opening of the Arts Theatre in Baton Rouge (two years ago) and will be performed, once again, in the Haus der Kunst in Berlin sometime in 2009. The piece will be choreographed by a fabulous Nigerian artist, Peter Badejo, currently residing in London.
- Written and Directed by Wole Soyinka
- Choreographed by Peter Badejo, in collaboration with many LMU faculty including Kevin Wetmore, Ron Marasco, Paul Humphreys, Judy Scalin, and Theresia deVroom.
About Wole Soyinka:
The Nigerian-born playwright is a distinguished writer who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. He is the first African to receive this honor.
Theresia de Vroom, professor of English and director of The Marymount Institute for Faith, Culture and the Arts, eloquently described Mr. Soyinka as “…a poet and playwright, a myth-maker, a translator, an essayist and a memoirist whose scope chronicles the lives of ordinary human beings caught between the opposing forces of creation and destruction.”
Mr. Soyinka has published more than 20 literary works, including plays, essays, novels, poems, memoirs, and academic and historical books. He has taught at universities in Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States, including the University of Ibadan, Harvard, Emory, Cambridge and Cornell.
An activist in Nigeria’s fight for independence, Mr. Soyinka was imprisoned in solitary confinement from 1967 to 1969 for writing an article that called for a cease-fire. To this day he is very involved in Nigerian politics and the shaping of that African country as an independent nation.
Mr. Soyinka's professorship at Loyola Marymount University includes interacting with students, faculty, staff and community through a variety of events, ranging from small-group classroom visits to campus-wide discussions. - http://www.lmu.edu/page42920.aspx
For campus map, driving directions, transportation options to LMU, visit http://www.lmu.edu/page69.aspx. The Loyola Marymount University main campus is located in Westchester at One LMU Drive, approximately four miles north of the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Cost: Free and open to the public; parking is free.
Both entrances to the LMU campus will be open. Check at the parking booths for directions and parking. The Sunken Garden is close to the Chapel and it is located near the Ignatian Circle area, north end of campus. Parking is not too far from venue.
For more information please contact
Sponsor(s): Loyola Marymount University. Information about non-ASC events is forwarded for informational purposes and does not necessarily reflect opinions of or endorsements by African Studies personnel.