by Hafiz Karmali, based on the 10th century Islamic fable by Ikhwan al-Safa
Once upon a time, storm winds cast a ship of diverse nations on the shore of an island inhabited by animals living in peace and harmony. The men hunted the animals convinced they held dominion over them. The animals took their grievance to the wise King of the Jinn who must now preside over The Case of Animals versus Man.
Drawing from theatre traditions East & West including Commedia dell arte, vaudeville, Khayal (the art of shadow puppetry evolved at Muslim court entertainments), and featuring world music, Island of Animals promises to be an entertaining performance of cross-cultural dimensions. The writing emulates the famous Sanskrit tales of Bidpai, Kalila wa Dimna and anticipates Attar’s Conference of the Birds by at least one hundred years; the Ikhwan al-Safa’s Island of Animals is an enlightening discovery of classical Muslim literature.
April 21, 2006 - May 15, 2006
1695 18th St., San Francisco, CA
Written by Hafiz Karmali, based on the 10th century Islamic fable by Ikhwan al-Safa
Directed by Hafiz Karmali
Featuring Shruti S. Tewari, Drea Bernardi, Carol Ellis, Joseph Estlack, Sahar Hojat, Erika Salazar, John Sousa. Dancers: Aliah Najmabadi, Tara Pandeya.
Design Team: Kate Boyd (scenic & lighting), Mayu McCartt (costumes), David Slaza (projections)
In partnership with the Afghan Coalition and Ballet Afsaneh, and support from the Christensen Fund.
“Eye-catching production is a family-friendly menagerie with real philosophical meat” - San Francisco Bay Guardian
“Exotic stage pictures,” “Stunning costume design,” “Entertaining and educational” -San Francisco Bay Times
Director & Playwright
Hafiz Karmali served an apprenticeship at the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University where he had the good fortune of assisting internationally renowned directors, Andrei Serban & Robert Wilson.
Mr. Karmali’s directing credits include Buchner’s Woyzeck, Leonce & Lena; Garcia Lorca’s The Shoemaker’s Prodigious Wife (Festival Avignon-Off, France); Attar’s Conference of the Birds(Ismaili Centre, London); Carlo Gozzi’s Love of Three Oranges & Raven(Montreal); Ikhwan al-Safa’s Island of Animals (Ismaili Centre, London); Jamatkhanas: A Journey I & II(video documentaries on Islamic Architecture); Caravane de la Paix (UNESCO, Paris).
Mr. Karmali has a special interest in cross-cultural performances with a view to showcasing indigenous performing arts of the Islamic world. To this end, he has directed Azaan– a court entertainment in collaboration with performers from Ismaili communities in London and Tajikistan (Guest of Honour: His Highness the Aga Khan);Rumi x 7–Tales from the Mathnavi sponsored by the EEC with an acting company in Uzbekistan;Water for Life, AKF London, in collaboration with a dance company from Gujarat (Guest of Honour: Princess Zahra Aga Khan); and with folk artists of Karimabad, Hunza,Legend of the Baltit Fort– a dance-theatre programme sponsored by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), hosted by His Highness and Prince Amyn.
Mr. Karmali is intrigued by the interface between culture and social development as apparent in past assignments as a consultant for the UNDP (Samarkand) and AKTC (the Silk Route Project). Hafiz served as a Relief Officer for Focus Humanitarian Assistance (affiliated with the AKDN) as a member of the pioneering team that implemented Project Afghanistan in Kabul, Pul-i-Khumri & Badakhshan (October 1996 – June 1997 during the Taliban regime). Hafiz also served as a member of the organising team for His Highness the Aga Khan’s visits to Tajikistan (May 1995) & Afghanistan (Sept. 1998). A recipient of an AKF International Scholarship, Hafiz spent one year conducting research in Iran and is currently based in Paris where at Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Sorbonne) he is finalising his doctorate thesis on classical Ismaili philosophy.