The Nubian Word for Flowers is a phantom opera based on a deep dream exploration of the Colonial Mind. Here the long and complex history of exploitation of Egyptian and Sudanese cultures by British and European colonialists is symbolized by super star of war and brilliant botanist Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener of Khartoum, often referred to in his time as “K of K”. It was the young surveyor Kitchener who drew the lines delineating the Southern Levant, creating the grid system that continues to be used for mapping Israel and Palestine today.
In the wake of a WW1 mine explosion that sinks the warship on which he is traveling off the coast of the Orkney Islands; Lord Herbert Horatio Kitchener, Secretary of State for War for the UK finds himself on a surreal and not entirely benevolent version of a Nubian island of flowers that he himself cultivated as a younger commander for Queen Victoria. Here he must come to terms with an enigmatic Nubian boatman and the timeless phantoms that reside on the island. These include the tumultuous flowers themselves- as well as human representatives of a displaced Nubian people and culture- along with notorious historical figures from his own life. Ultimately, Kitchener, or K of K (Kitchener of ?Khartoum, as he was called by an adoring Victorian public) is set free from the island by the power of Memory; but not before he has undergone a harrowing rite of passage that fundamentally transforms him and all who surround him.
Thanks to generous support from the MAP Fund and production support from Experiments in Opera (EiO) and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) we are moving NWF through development. This includes residencies with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) at Mt. Tremper Arts, Workshop Presentation: September 23, 2017; ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries, Workshop Presentation: October 29, 2017; and the Baryshnikov Arts Center Workshop Presentation: November 28, 2017; before our performance at Roulette Intermedium on November 30, 2017 at 8:00 PM.
The Nubian Word for Flowers: A Phantom Opera