Public Theater to Present A World I Loved: The Story of an Arab Woman, Featuring Vanessa Redgrave, at Columbia

By Adam Hetrick
23 Oct 2012

Vanessa Redgrave
Vanessa Redgrave

Vanessa Redgrave will direct and appear in a two-night presentation of A World I Loved: The Story of an Arab Woman, which will be presented by The Public Theater at the Miller Theatre at Columbia University in late November.

Based on the memoir of Wadad Makdisi Cortas, A World I Loved premiered last summer as part of the Brighton Festival. Cortas' daughter, Mariam C. Said, and Redgrave adapted the work for the stage. It will play Nov. 28 and 29 at 8 PM in the Miller Theatre.

Cortas' memoir details the changing physical, social and political landscape of Lebanon, as the country struggles under Western influence, civil wars and religious upheaval. She died in 1979. Said published the memoir in 2009.

Redgrave (Long Day's Journey Into Night, Driving Miss Daisy) will be part of a cast that also features Cortas' granddaughter, Najla Said, as well as Nadim Sawalha, musicians Steven Bentley-Klein (violin), Sary Khalife (cello), Sofya Melikyan (piano) and the Spence Middle School Chorus.



It is billed as a "rich performance combining music, storytelling, choral singing and video projections."

According to the Public, "A World I Loved begins in Lebanon in 1917 and spans over half a century, through the creation of Israel to the Lebanese Civil War. The production follows Cortas as she became a pupil of the Ahliah School for Girls in Beirut, then later a teacher and finally Principal there, where she remained until her retirement in 1974."

"The work tells an important story about one of the most complex issues of our time from a very personal perspective," Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis said in a statement. "This beautiful piece brings to life a world we all can love, one where art, education and music are essential bridges between communities, and where the desire for peace is given vibrant, human shape."

Tickets for Public Theater Members and Miller Theatre subscribers are on sale now. Tickets for the general public go on sale Oct. 30. For tickets phone (212) 854-7799, or visit millertheatre.com. The Miller Theatre at Columbia University is located at 2960 Broadway at 116th Street.