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Saudi Student Pens Cultural Play
Susquehanna University
Saudi Student Pens Cultural Play

March 07, 2017

"I want to represent Saudi society to the American people."

This was how Faisal Alyousif explained his motivation behind Ducks in a Train, a play that follows a young boy on his journey from one Saudi city to another to visit his cousins.

"Theatre is one way to reach people. It's my way," Alyousif said. "It's what I'm good at."

Alyousif  '18, a theatre production and design major, enrolled at Susquehanna University as a business student. He'd been working in a power plant in Saudi Arabia to support his family after the death of his father. But after a younger brother declined an opportunity to study abroad, Alyousif seized this opportunity.

"I did very well as a business major," he said. "But I wasn't happy."

He was happy in the theater. Alyousif remembers becoming enthralled as a 9-year-old fourth-grader.

"Since that point, I realized I love working with people," he said. "You can change people's minds; that's how I see it."

It's what he hopes to do with Ducks in a Train. It is scheduled to appear at Susquehanna in the fall 2017 semester under the direction of Associate Professor of Theatre Doug Powers.

"It will be produced most likely as a staged reading," said Erik Viker, associate professor and chair of the Department of Theatre. "It gives the playwright a sense for how it feels in the air, how it feels in the actors' mouths, how movement might work, without going into a full production."

Quite political, the play features no female actors so that it may eventually be performed in Saudi Arabia, where women and men cannot act together in the same production.

Seeing Saudi Arabian culture as one that is hidden within American society, Alyousif hopes his play will educate Americans about Saudi Arabian culture.

"I hope anyone who attends the play will have an experience they will remember for the rest of their life," he said.

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