February 7, 2006

El-Ashkar Presents Kahlil Gibran's Life

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Having already performed his monodrama in cities worldwide, international dramatist Michel El-Ashkar brought his two-act play about the inspiring life of the Lebanese writer, artist and philosopher Kahlil Gibran to Cornell yesterday.

The two-act play featured excerpts from The Prophet, Gibran’s masterpiece and most famous work, including readings about children, love and marriage, as well as explained the life of the remarkable artist behind the piece. The Prophet, published in 1923, has sold more copies in the 20th century than any other work except the Bible.

The play focused on the major events of Gibran’s life, such as his immigration to the United States at the age of 12, his return to Lebanon and subsequent education in Beirut and his study in Paris. More importantly, however, the play highlighted Gibran’s personal relationships and their accompanying joy and sorrow.

Specifically, the play concentrated on the inspiration that Gibran gained from his family members and close friend, Mary Haskell, an American teacher with whom Gibran formed a lasting and important friendship. Haskell not only became Gibran’s friend, but also his teacher, editor and source of intellectual stimulation.

Additionally, the poverty and political instability of Lebanon that occurred during Gibran’s life was discussed throughout the play. Gibran’s response to this strife in the form of articles and books were meant to stir people of Lebanon descent to help restore the country. Gibran lived from 1883 to 1931.

The play also emphasized the importance and eternal nature of human passion in which Gibran believed. “Be free and unafraid of expressing your passion in life