"Femme" is a multimedia cabaret by Fella Oudane and Mark Volpe. Live performances in French, Arabic and English accompany projected video images of La Femme in a series of vignettes that move from heartbroken to confident. "Femme" delivers energy, ambiance and humor in a completely original package that merges fully orchestrated ballads with solo doumbek perfomances. The price of admission includes one glass of red wine, Brie and baguettes.
The production is a positive portrayal of Arab women in Western media. Gone is the stereotypical "wallflower hijeb" and in its place La Femme is vulnerable, formidable and beautiful on her own terms, embracing three cultures simultaneously as singer and doumbekist. La Femme recovers from her husband's desertion through a belief in her own identity, her recognition of her "heart" (embodied by Le Cardiologue). As her confidence grows, her self-expression becomes validated by an increasingly energized and pleasantly surprised audience.
Mark Volpe was hired to storyboard Fella's video for "Al Faraq" in 2010. After meeting Fella, he began writing about the difficulty of her being Arab-American in a post-911 world. His sensitive treatment of this topic (from both sides) engaged his DIY green screen talents, dramatic persona, and sound engineering skills. What emerged in a few months was "Femme", three heartbeats that beat as one: Arab Soul, American Pop, and the French Mystique. Redoubling his efforts to at least pronounce French and Arabic reasonably, he discovers in performing Le Cardiologue that native speakers love his enthusiasm and the American-born originality of his creation.
To those who have "lost heart" for drama in recent times, "Femme: Mon Coeur Pour Toi" will inspire a few exhilarated palpitations to say the least. This is due to a first-rate cast and production team. The rest is magic. Enjoy!