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The Interwoven History of Moroccan Theatre

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This study considers Moroccan theatre history from the premise of an “interweaving performance culture,” as developed by a center by the same name at the Freie Universität of Berlin and sets as its main objective the tasks of investigating that history, looking for and highlighting the factors that historically contributed to the making of modern Moroccan theatre and producing an interwoven theatrical culture and performance aesthetics. The main intention is to sketch out the major interwoven constituents that contributed to establishing Moroccan current theatre as a modern established institution and to unravel the culturally multi-layered system performance arts in Morocco.

Investigations that examined the local theatrical memory and archives conducted by Moroccan scholars has led to gradual revelation of evidence showing an interwoven loop in the history of the Moroccan theatre. Accordingly, the curiosity of theatre-archeologists researching the field of performance arts has uncovered numerous realities about the ‘diversified’ past of Moroccan civilization, culture, and thus theatre. However, eager as they were to understand the types of cultures that contributed to the formation of the Moroccan theatre, none thought of it “interweavingly,” since their interest was mainly focused on relationships between the “Self” and the “Other” and moments in which Otherness was imposed on Moroccan theatre. Nevertheless, more recent studies, employing more of an “interweaving cultures in performance” orientation have allowed new discoveries to be made.  As Marvin Carlson explains in his “Introduction” to Erika Fischer-Lichte’s 2008 The Transformative Power of Performance: A New Aesthetics:

Performance has proved so useful and stimulating a concept that today scholars around the world are exploring its possibilities for a better understanding of social and cultural processes. (1)

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