Last night, Report on Revolutionary Circumstances and Other Plays from Egypt opened at Rowan University outside Philadelphia:
The show’s set to run from February 26 through March 1. If you aren’t near Philadelphia, you can also watch the show — directed by Rebekah Maggor — on Saturday at 8 p.m. through the university’s online television network.
In addition to Report on Revolutionary Circumstances, by Magdy El-Hamzawy, the productions willfeature Yasmeen Emam (Shaghaf)’s The Mirror and Hani Abdel Nasser and Mohamed Abdel Mu’iz’s The Say Dancing is a Sin.
Translations from the Arabic were done by Mohammed Albakry, Amor Eletrebi, Rebekah Maggor, and Mona Ragab.
The three plays are part of the forthcoming anthology Tahrir Plays and Performance Texts from the Egyptian Revolution, ed. Albakry and Maggor. As Maggor writes in her director’s note:
The three short plays in this production were written in Egypt over the last five years during a time of social unrest and political instability. They tell stories of characters yearning for lives of dignity in the face of poverty, corruption, and discrimination. In the surreal drama The Mirror, by Yasmeen Emam (Shaghaf), a teenage girl is paralyzed by the question of whether to wear a revealing or conservative dress to the wedding of a man she dreamed of marrying. In the gritty monodrama They Say Dancing is a Sin, by Hani Abdel Nasser and Mohamed Abdel Mu’iz, an independently minded dancer derides the duplicity and greed of her well-to-do patrons. The satirical ensemble tragedy Report on Revolutionary Circumstances by Magdy El Hamzawy, introduces a plucky shoeshine boy who dreams that the revolution will send him back to school.
But these are not meant to be “exotic” artifacts of another time and place. Again, Maggor:
In rehearsing this production, we have done our best to render an American staging of these Egyptian plays. Our primary goal has been to not only expose our viewers to the tragic difficulties of a faraway place, but, as in any other theatrical performance, allow our audience to reflect on the challenges of our own society. As we grappled with the translation, casting, design, choreography, and music for this show, we aimed to move beyond the particularities of the Egyptian situation and encourage audience members to develop a personal and direct connection to the characters.
For more on the production:
From the opening night: