But, Hanaa Abdel Fattah argues in Ahram Online, Egyptian theater has fallen into disrepair, thanks to censorship, religious red lines, and “bad commercialism.”
Modern Arabic theater has been graced with some excellent playwrights: Tawfiq al-Hakim, of course, who is credited with founding modern Arabic drama, and who perhaps would have won the 1988 “Arab” Nobel for Literature had he not died the year before it was awarded. Sa’adallah Wannus. Alfred Faraj. Yusuf Idris, who was also on the “shortlist” for the ’88 Nobel. (Roger Allen names many more.)
Yet little Arabic theatrical work has been translated into English.
When scholars battle (in a bottle) over the world’s first “novel,” some point to Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Others tip their hats to Ibn Tufayl’s Hayy ibn Yaqzan (Hayy [Alive], son of Yaqzan [Awake]), which was translated into Latin and English in the latter half of the 17th century and served as an inspiration for Defoe’s 1719 adventure novel.
This Sunday, October 17—in forty cities, in thirty different countries—a single play will be staged: “The Gaza Monologes.”
Nehad Selaiha writes this week in Al Ahram about summer theater events around Cairo, devoting an unfortunate number of paragraphs to a hastily organized and apparently un-funny comedy festival that ran from July 10-16. (If you’re going to write about… Read More ›
I found a belated report on Cairo’s production of Bussy in Middle East Online, censored on its second performance after audience disapproval. The interesting part came at the end: But the play found a fan in Egyptian mega-filmstar Khaled Abul… Read More ›
Sharjah, which The National says wants to be known as the “cultural emirate,” is launching an Arabic theater festival that should come to fruition in April of next year. This sounded exciting: I was eager to see the plays of… Read More ›
Commenter Al Haraka (The Movement) apparently saw a version of my beloved The Donkey Market at the D.C. fringe festival. The play takes a Goha story—the region’s “wise fool”—and expands on it, playing with the ideas of labor, slavery, and… Read More ›
I walked into our neighborhood bookstore (more of a stationery store with a few books) yesterday, and was pleased to find a nice assortment of somewhat-dusty fiction. True, the rack by the door was full of self-help, but I also… Read More ›
I understand and appreciate (and share, really) the American obsession with the new. What books came out in 2009? What will be released in 2010? Who’s the next Sonallah Ibrahim/Naguib Mahfouz/Elias Khoury/Hanan al-Shaykh/Mahmoud Darwish? Forget the old-and-greats, show me the… Read More ›