Listening to 'Scorched"
Panel discussion to explore themes of Middle Eastern war, women
A panel discussion called “Listening to 'Scorched': Women, War and Resistance” will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, in the Arthur Storch Theatre. The discussion will follow the 3 p.m. matinee of Syracuse Stage’s production of “Scorched” by Wajdi Mouwad and is part of Syracuse Symposium 2013. Admission to the discussion is free, and attendance at the play is not required.
The play by Mouwad, a Lebanese-Canadian playwright, follows twins Jeanne and Simon as they journey to the Middle East to unravel the mystery of their recently deceased mother’s life during wartime in her homeland. The show runs Oct. 23-Nov. 10 at the John D. Archbold Theater at Syracuse Stage, 820 E. Genesee St., Syracuse. It will feature original music by the world-renowned Kronos Quartet.
The panel discussion will focus on issues and ideas regarding Middle Eastern women and war. The panel will include Dana M. Olwan, assistant professor of women’s and gender studies, and M. Neelika Jayawareane, associate professor of English at SUNY Oswego. The panel will be moderated by Carol Fadda-Conroy, assistant professor of English in The College of Arts and Sciences.
“Five years before the mother died, she stopped speaking,” says Kyle Bass, Syracuse Stage dramaturg. “We see this as a radical act of defiance, a choice to not speak as opposed to being silenced.”
The play challenges the perception that women in the Middle East are only passive victims of war, he says. “Women and children certainly tend to be victims of war, but there are stories of women who are part of the resistance during war.”
Although the play itself never names the country or specific war, the scenery, music, characters' names and events in the play make it clear that it’s set in the Middle East during Lebanon’s civil war, Bass says. “There’s a universality about this message,” he says. “When we think about what’s happening in Syria and what’s happened in the last couple years in the Middle East, it has a lot of relevance.”
The theme of the semester-long intellectual and artistic festival Syracuse Symposium 2013 is “Listening.” Syracuse Symposium is organized and presented by the SU Humanities Center for SU's College of Arts and Sciences and the entire Syracuse community.