Samarkand [978-0-9839616-7-3]


Author : Wole Soyinka

ISBN Code : 978-0-9839616-7-3

The magic and myth of the marketplace came alive on March 29th, 2008, when Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, was transformed into a global marketplace. Set in the University’s “sunken garden,” with its Sacred Heart Chapel luminous in the background, Wole Soyinka’s vast dramatic tone poem, Samarkand, was enacted.

The performance was set in the most fundamental spaces of all human contact: the market, the theatre, and the church. This is an account of that performance which literally included a cast of a thousand.

The evening of the performance was bitterly cold and, as the DVD reveals, extraordinarily windy. That night the campus of Loyola Marymount University was like an Aeolian harp, that sacred stringed instrument of the ancient Greeks, emblematic of the work of the poet. When the wind passed across this carefully calibrated instrument, a harmony of intervals could be heard as if by divine suspiration. So too it was thought that the poet was inspired by his muse to “sing in me” and so write in “the concert hour of the gods.” The vehicle or harp that night was a campus with a garden, a stage, and a Catholic Church in which music, dance, market fare, and poetry conspired. In one magic moment, the city and the world passed magically through the University, hearing “the music of the spheres tuned to a single chord,/A unison, to which the world awakes.”

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