In 1912, Kahlil Gibran published the lyrical novel Broken Wings, the fourth of his eight Arabic published works. Almost 100 years later, two contemporary composers, Dana Al Fardan and Nadim Naaman are recreating it in the form of a musical.
About the novel and the composers:
Nadim Naaman, the Lebanese-English West End star and co-author of the musical, will be narrating as Gibran, and Hiba Elchikhe will be Selma Karamy, Gibran’s first love in Lebanon. Actor Rob Houchen will play Gibran as a teenager.
On Gibran, Nadim Naaman said, “Kahlil Gibran is the Shakespeare of The Middle East. His views transcend nationality, politics, and background, read by all faiths and all ages. He was spiritual, but wouldn’t dedicate his life to one particular organization of religion. Instead, he took the best of all faiths, championing humanity, tolerance, and love above all else. I still can’t believe that the book hasn’t already been adapted for the stage; it is structured like a play and is awash with musical references.”
Much like Gibran’s life, the creation of this musical has been a bridge between the Middle East and the West, one of the main tenets of this Chair.
Gibran published Broken Wings in 1912, but the happenings of the book supposedly took place around the turn of the century. The poetic novel captures many themes such as the social issues of the time in the Middle East, including religious corruption, the rights of women and the lack thereof, and the relationship between wealth and happiness.
Dana Al Fardan, the well-known Qatari composer, and co-author of this musical, debuts her writing prowess in composing a musical as this is her first venture into writing a musical. Al Fardan, who is Qatar’s only female contemporary composer and who has written music for Qatar Airways, told Arab America that she identifies with the subject of Broken Wings because of Selma, the main woman character, and the fact that she experienced the lack of women’s rights.
The premiere of the semi stage production with a 9-piece orchestra will be at Theatre Royal Haymarket in London, August 1-4.
Promise of a US tour:
According to Arab America, co-author Dana Al Fardan promised that, hopefully, Broken Wings will travel to the United States, where Gibran spent most of his life.