The Public Theater (Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis; Executive Director, Patrick Willingham) and Miller Theatre at Columbia University (Executive Director Melissa Smey) will present the 2012 Brighton Festival production of A WORLD I LOVED: The Story of an Arab Woman, for two nights only, November 28 and 29, at Columbia University's Miller Theatre (2960 Broadway). Written by Mariam C. Said and Vanessa Redgrave, and directed and narrated by Redgrave, A WORLD I LOVED is a one-of-a-kind theatrical event based on the memoir of Said's mother, Wadad Makdisi Cortas, an Arab woman who lived through and chronicled one of the most tumultuous periods in recent history, interweaving her personal experiences as a student, teacher and then principal in a girls' school in Beirut with the wider political and historical narrative of Lebanon throughout the 20th century.
The cast of this narrative with music features Vanessa Redgrave, Najla Said, and Nadim Sawalha, along with musicians Stephen Bentley-Klein (violin), Sary Khalife (cello), Sofya Melikyan (piano), and the Spence Middle School Chorus.
A WORLD I LOVED begins in Lebanon in 1917 and spans over half a century, through the creation of Israel to the Lebanese Civil War. The production follows Cortas as she became a pupil of the Ahliah School for Girls in Beirut, then later a teacher and finally principal there, where she remained until her retirement in 1974. A rich performance combining music, storytelling, choral singing and video projections, the production also includes appearances by two of Cortas' direct descendants: her daughter and co-author of the production, Mariam (widow of the Palestinian scholar and former Columbia University professor Edward Said) and her granddaughter, Najla Said.