Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Oman Theatre Production premiere in USA next month

While we wait for the new opera house to be finished, The Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center (SQCC) in Washington DC is already serving as a route to develop Omani Theatrical talent.

The Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center (SQCC), named for His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said al Said, Sultan of Oman, was established in 2005 to provide educational resources and outreach programs that promote greater public understanding and awareness between our two nations, the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf Region. Building on almost 200 years of relations between the United States and the Sultanate of Oman, the SQCC celebrates the culture, history, and heritage of these regions.
SQCC is a program of the Middle East Institute of Washington, DC.

The centre has commissioned Debbie Allen (perhaps most well known for the dance school movie "Fame!") to develop a show about two young men sharing a room in a Military Academy. Called Oman O Man!, (no copyright acknowledged to Muscati) they take a "magical journey together through music, movement, song, and dance".

Here's Debbie. She's one of the best modern choreographers in the US (and I understand she's visiting Oman this week too).

Sounds like an interesting show. (I can't help but think it's slightly homoerotic, with a theme like that, but that's probably just my twisted imagination.) Catch it in Washington, March 12-15, 2009.

presented in association with the

Emmy winner and Kennedy Center favorite Debbie Allen is back with OMAN…O Man!, a world premiere Kennedy Center commission presented in association with the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center. Created and choreographed by Allen, this ground-breaking, dance-driven extravaganza explores the culture of Oman. It features young Omani performers collaborating with their peers from Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. to original music composed by Grammy-winning trumpeter Arturo Sandoval.

At the center of the work are two young men--one Omani, another American--who meet at a military academy with cadets from all over the world. Though their names--Joseph and Yousef--are similar, these roommates don't really understand each other. However, through music, movement, song, and dance, they take a magical journey together and discover the similarities and the differences between their two cultures, and learn much about each other. OMAN…O Man! will transport you from where the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea meet to where the desert dunes mystify, from the ancient past to the immediate present.


  1. I would pay top riyal to see the magical journey of music, movement, song and dance (a dance-off in a sense) of UD vs Man :)

  2. What I don't unnerstand again, is why these people are obsessed with considering our part of the world some exotic, frankincense-laddled, dusty desert where the local populace goes all wide-eyed and slack-jawed at seeing a white-fleshed male in his native environment?! Oman and America - Ancient past and immediate present?

    Maybe I'm biased, but this theme has been used long enough. Move on!

  3. Salmonella.

    You are correct. I am also fed up with these portrayals of an arab past by people whose knowlege was gained from the arabiatta sauce on their pasta.
    From the violent suicide bomber (my Jeff Dunham theme for the week) to the silly - are we doomed and surrounded by distorted versions of our history? Those who invent their history are doomed to live trapped within it?
    Although, on balance, I prefer the Broadway version to the Wahibist version.
    Any ideas for the theme for the opening premier performance in oman?

  4. Salmonella
    Sorry its Jeff Denhan


  5. From all the people available they got her!!!!!!!! With that dress she looks like she was just released from a mental hospital (trapped mouse).

    I recommend adding coexistence into the theme. Two men from different culture and background learning more about each other and learning how to coexist peacefully. Thanks

  6. While I echo Salmonella's sentiments, there is a morbid curiosity in me. I will take an american friend or two and go see this show.

    I will probably regret it.

    -Omani in US

  7. Noseyguy
    Where better to look for a motley cast of Actors in search of a theme and a stage than the screens of this Blog? We all have our exits.
    Sometimes the comments section expresses internecine slagging matches with personal insults exchanged or even the trading of respectful acknowledgements of the identity of the blogger or fellow commentator. Some recent inaccurate comments made on this site concerning my values and identity made me think about the complex ways in which use of this medium leads us to unintentionally or deliberately leak clues/misdirection as to our non cyber-space identities and lives.
    I have been guilty of sneering at imagined xenophobic bullies. I picture them as the kind of noveau middle class Omanis that drive up to their local shop in a Maxima (purchased with overstretched credit and plastic seat covers intact) to arrogantly toot their car horn until some perspiring ‘expat’ shop assistant comes running with a cold Mountain Dew, runs back to the shop and then runs back to the car with 50bz change etc. I am probably wrong.
    My point is that the interactive nature of Blogging reveals participants. To take an interesting subject – me – as an example. What do my use of syntax, language idioms, illustration, metaphor, spelling, and choice of issues reveal?. Looking at my prose would hint at a traditional, somewhat dated western education. My anti phobic rants would also point to a semi liberal grumpy old man. What are my nationality, age, status, appearance? What is my biography? Are my comments deliberately peppered with distracters? Perhaps what we do not say also provides clues. Do I reveal a love of hydroponics, literature, poetry, visual art , film, painting, politics or a particular culture? Am I marginal to the Oman scene or am I merely super discreet? Do I show ‘inside knowledge’ or access to privileged local networks? Who is bothered about the identity of a clogging, nosey guy spectator anyway?
    Is anyone capable of doing a forensic analysis of UD, or another local Blogging Star, through the use of their Blog but without the use of special resources – i.e. mum is not allowed an attempt. The portrait does not have to be accurate. It is probably essential and best if real identities remain secure.No need for comfirmation of accuracy or error. However, it may be interesting to see how collectively held portraits emerge from the subliminal detection of nuggets of information.
    I think that one of the attractions of reading and writing Blogs is the flirtation with personal revelation. To take a cross dressing analogy: the veils of UD tease and swirl, they may even be dropped but all we get is a glimpse of something terrible in the mist and smoke. What do you see at the back of the Dragon's lair, sitting at the desk in Angry’s office, at the table in CafĂ© Muscato, in the pilot’s seat of Jet Driver or emerging from the A’Shatti apartment of Mean Reds?

  8. Child pornography ring leader named in Oman.

  9. Just bought tickets for the show. Hopefully the homoerotic undertones will only be present in the show's description.

    -Omani in US

  10. @OmaniinUS, hope it is so, but another disturbing undercurrent in current US media (which is sure to overflow in theater) is the newfound acceptance and celebration of gayism, prompting all such media to be 'breakthrough', 'forward-thinking', 'celebratory' and what-not. I'm sure they'd want to show those undertones here, especially since they consider the MiddleEast to be a cradle of gay pedophilia!
    Urg! I'm beginning to think something is stinking here.

  11. Boxster,

    I don't do Zoolander impersonations.

    Ah, artistic license. Perhaps its got something to do with how Oman sells itself as a holiday destination, a land seeped in ancient mystery and francincense, a land of sweeping deserts, etc etc etc....!

    I kill you!

    Er, Mr. T.
    She's a pretty good choreographer. And was pretty fit in her day.

    Nice theme. You're a romantic at heart eh?

    Yeah. I like how lots of different people are confident they know who I am, but their suspects are different people and sometimes even of different gender. (Amjad even thinks he really, really knows who I am!).

    Perhaps too often we simply project what we want to see onto others. Or are uncomfortable dealing with ideas and arguments in the absence of a stereotype to help us decide.

    Let us know how the show was please. Don't hold back.

    Oh, my, god! Homosexual people are getting involved in the theatre now???? Whatever next?

    The media (and theatre) only pander to what their audience wants. If people want to see or read it, they'll film or print it. Its maybe the ultimate democracy.

  12. "It (theatre) is maybe the ultimate democracy." Undercover Dragon

    sweet quote!

  13. We in Oman Love Music and we welcome all those who are related to Music and we enjoy every part of it... cheers,,, Hardrock

  14. I lived in Oman as a child and just saw the show at the Kennedy Center portrayed the Sultan and his people in a beautiful way(and included a lot of history and information about Islam)but also told of an American boy and his African roots. My children (8 and 9) loved it! All of the shows here in DC are sold out. I certainly miss Oman and I hope to return someday.


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