US actor Ian Knauer tells us about performing in iconic musical
Hey Ian, how are rehearsals going? It’s going well – it’s very fun to be doing the show with a great cast, and it’s such a fantastic production. The show was my fi rst professional job when I was 12 years old – I played Kurt. This production is just for the Middle East – we’ve put it together specifically for Dubai. (Now us too).
Have you altered the play for our local audiences? We haven’t changed it at all. It’s different from the movie, but we perform the stage show as it was originally written, so there are a lot of songs from the movie and also songs not covered in the movie.
What do you think is the secret of the show’s success? It’s almost a Cinderella story that anyone can relate to. It’s about going with your heart and following your dreams, but also being true to who you are, and true to the people that are important to you. There are so many things that ring true for so many people, no matter what their background. It’s fun to live through somebody else’s life, which is why we go to the theatre – to enjoy, but also to learn and have a good time.
How do you put your personal slant on your character? I defi nitely have my own experiences of doing the show because I played Rolf in my early twenties. But I’ve never played the captain before, (there is a different leading man in the Bahrain version) and it’s really very fun. Having seen the movie, I have certain images and ideas from that, but I’m coming at it from my experiences from the stage and from my personal life.
We read on your website that you’ve also played Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz… I actually played it twice. It was really remarkable, and a lot like The Sound of Music. It’s such a well-known show – it was so fun to do something where people were already with you, they already knew what was happening, but it was just so exciting for them seeing it live, and in person.
Do you have any other career highlights? The Sound of Music is a big highlight, because it’s a cool marker for me in my career – just to be able to say that 30 years on I’m still performing. It’s quite amazing. I never knew this was going to be my journey in life, and here I am playing The Sound Of Music in Dubai. It’s great to be here, because it combines two of the things I love: performing and experiencing different people and a different culture. I’m really curious to see how the local audiences will react to the show.
The Sound of Music is at the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre from July 10-15 (Call 80 008 089).
A new look at old Muharraq
Manama is the capital of Arab Culture this year and one of the most important elements of this year’s line up is the cultural infrastructure projects planned.
Heritage monuments to Bahrain’s cultural past are being restored or renovated and opened to the publi including Qaisariya Suq in Muharraq, one of the oldest sections of the historic market of Muharraq.
The first phase of its restoration by the Ministry of Culture, as part of the Pearling Testimony Site nominated for the UNESCO World Heritage List, has been completed and the area is now accessible to the public. There, passers-by and tourists are treated to the sights and flavours of the unique pearling past of the country.
Shops in the suq sell Arabian perfumes, spices, teas and the antiques of the Bahrain of old.
One of the oldest family establishments in the area, Bokhammas, has retained a presence in the suq. First open to business in 1874, the Bokhammas family trade catered to the needs of Bahrain’s pearling economy, supplying locals with fishing accessories and pearling equipment.
Meanwhile, the rich colours and fabrics of Bahrain greet the eye at Um Hassan’s, where customers can learn about and purchase traditional costumes in addition to cosmetics. Then at Dar Al Teab, an exclusive perfumery which sells Arabian perfumes for both men and women, the intense smells of Arabia can be tested and tried.
One of the oldest manufacturers of swords and daggers, Depaj, can also be found there. Traditionally, the possessions of only the most affluent and powerful, numerous sheikhs and kings can be counted amongst Depaj’s exclusive clientele. And for those enamoured with Arabian furniture styles, Al Atawi showcases a beautiful collection of traditional Bahraini antiques. There is simply something for everyone and visitors will walk away having touched and reflected on historic Bahrain.
The experience cannot be complete without a stop at the suq’s Saffron Café and Estikana spices and tea shop.
Look out for next month’s picture feature, you’ll want to visit and we’ll have more tips on the best places.