My research focuses on storytelling through movement, spirituality, and community influences in order to explore and to better understand non-western performing arts history, in both the practical and theoretical sense. Storytelling in its simplest form is a social practice that influences politics, religion, cultures, and social norms. Western culture has tried to negate eastern influences on modern performing arts and its community-centered art; however, through my research I hope to investigate story-telling traditions in non-western cultures in order to create productions that reflect the social issues within any specific culture. Combining movement theories created by Suzuki, Bogart, Laban, and Chekov with traditional eastern dance, movements, and gestures, I hope to create original productions that highlight and pay homage to the rich and diverse art created in non-western cultures. My aim is to provide theoretical and practical approaches of creating modern theatre that honor the traditions of the performing arts of non-western cultures.
As a scholar, I find inspiration in Middle Eastern cultures and the Islamic faith. The inspiration born from the oral storytelling traditions within Middle Eastern cultures as well as the rituals within the Islamic faith has prompted me to investigate other cultures outside of the standard “western canon” of theatrical studies. Studying non-western cultures allows my research to delve deeper in a more insightful direction by taking my collective findings and to creating work, teaching lectures, and to prompting change on an international level through as many institutions and organizations as possible.
As a theatre director, my goal is to take my research and turn it into stories that reflect a spiritual landscape. I want to focus on plays that center around rituals, movement, and non-traditional approaches to explore western dramas. Theatre’s purpose is to shine a light on the realities of life through a certain artistic lens to help educate, inform, and entertain audiences, and to advocate for marginalized groups in society. Theatre has a dialectical effect by both entertaining the audience while allowing the audience’s subconscious to formulate opinions about what they are watching to later take into the world. The goal is that the audience will recognize the good, the bad, and the ugly in the world so that they can fight to create better communities, societies, and potentially, better nations. I want to use theatre to tap into the pathos and ethos of audience members to allow them to recognize where healing, growth, and enlightenment can happen within the microcosm of the self and the macrocosm of the world.
As a playwright, I take my research and create scripts that adopt classic works like The Arabian Nights and Frankensteinand the published and unpublished work of Walt Whitman in order to highlight social issues within a specific time and/or culture. As an educator, I ask students to take this research and to broaden their theatrical horizons by using theories, research, and community influences as a tool for into create art. Using a combination of Viewpoints, Suzuki, the tools and philosophies of Stanislavsky’s system, Brecht’s techniques, and eastern forms of performance arts, I actively look how to create innovative forms of art that are diverse and inclusive to both the team developing the art and the audience viewing the work.