By Ouidyane Elouardaoui
By Ouidyane Elouardaoui
Morocco World News
New York, August 15, 2012
Unfortunately, 2M’s programming for Ramadan 2012 did not differ much from the previous seasons. A quick skim on 2M’s “special” TV shows for Ramadan, and you come to realize that these are just recycled and extended versions of previous years’ programs. TV shows like Hna Jiran even with the use of a well-know Egyptian cast has failed to engage a large number of Moroccan Spectators, while others like Wlid Lqayid has grown too worn-out. The common problems in these shows are related to the very loose plot, the improvised bland dialogue in addition to the persisting shooting in 2M’s unchangeable indoor locations without mentioning the often poor standard of acting.
However, amidst these awkward and oftentimes nonsensical TV programs, the TV show of Lalla Manana stands out. 2M’s translation of Lalla Manana from a staged play to a TV series with 30 episodes has been surprisingly successful. The first point of attraction in this series is its storyline. Lalla Manana tells the story of a middle-class family that consists of a widow and her four daughters. The crisis in the series starts when the widow restricts the movement of her daughters: she does not allow them to leave the house nor even consents that they meet with other people for the purpose of protecting the family’s honor and reputation after the death of the sole male figure (the father). This odd decision triggers interesting events that center on the adventures of the four girls with their potential suitors. The strength of Lalla Manana’s plot is not due to its originality but rather to its comfortable familiarity. It evokes the story of the famous literary work Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice that depicts the relatively isolated and simple life of a middle-class family whose main concern is to find the right suitors for the four family maidens. This work has been itself translated on screen several times.
The creative features in Lalla Manana have to do with its compelling geographical and cultural specificities. The series takes place in the north of Morocco, most likely in the city of Tangiers. One enjoys looking at the blue and white houses, which are the milestone of the Northern cities. The outdoor scenes in the series are interestingly not few and are shot in clean streets, which illustrate the efforts made by the crew to offer the viewers a beautiful neat image of a part of their country. The production executives very carefully chose the shooting locations and they often had to paint the houses and the streets, for the purpose of maintaining the fairytale atmosphere of the series.
The clothing fashion also demonstrates a great deal of professionalism. All the woman characters wear charming casual traditional dresses (Kaftan/Jellabia) that are designed to fit the personal traits of every character. For instance, the young sister, Shama, always wears pink to indicate her romantic and soft personality while the older sister, Maria, is typically dressed in green that points to her peaceful and mild character. The delightful soundtrack with its Spanish spin has also been artistically designed to suit the geographical setting of the intriguing story. In addition, the choice of the cast has played a key role in the success of the series. The main female characters are well-known and loved by the Moroccan public but more importantly are very talented actresses. They all provided an excellent translation of the characters’ personal attributes and complexes. They also offered a perfect rendition of the Northern Moroccan dialect that has been carefully written and revised by the production executives.
All in all, the successful TV series of Lalla Manana is the fruit of a vigilant production crew that showed consideration to the components of cast, acting, setting, music, language and story. Thus, the example of Lalla Manana proves that 2M’s executives are capable of bringing to light a TV show that can gain the admiration of the Moroccan audience, if they seriously take into account all these important media elements.
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