Friday, August 31, 2007

El Attar at CIFET

The Cairo festival also includes a show called F*** Darwin, Or How I learned to Love Socialism, by Egyptian playwright/director Ahmed El Attar. Unaffiliated with any state-funded theatre in Egypt, El Attar's Temple Independent Theatre Company is producing the show under the banner of Montenegro. It's actually a co-production with a Montenegrin group.

El Attar's postmodern collage, About Othello, Or Who's Afraid of William Shakespeare (co-written with Nevine El Ibiary) was produced in Geneva last November. Earlier (Sept 13-18, 2006) it played to mixed reviews at AUC's Falaki Theatre, the only venue in Cairo that could handle the technical complexities of its 2.5-ton industrial set and many projection screens.

According to El Attar, the whole of F*** Darwin involves a family sitting on a couch, very static, in contrast to the many moving parts of his Othello. When the father speaks to the son, it is with excerpts from Gamal Abdel Nasser speeches. Which is kind of nice.

UPDATE 6/23/11: The link to the About Othello review has gone dead, but I found another one, by Waleed Marzouk for the Daily News Egypt.  Clips of this visually not very interesting show soon to come at MIT's Global Shakespeares archive - stay tuned.

Iraqi Shakespeare at CIFET

This year's Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theatre will include an Iraqi adaptation of Macbeth.

It's called Blood Horse, presented by the National Acting Troupe (more details as I get them):

Shakespeare’s Macbeth is well known among intellectuals and those interested in theatre. However, we’ve presented here a new view of the play, modernizing the events and making them speak of the reality of our world. We deal here with absolute power, presenting it out of space and time, so we see Shakespeare’s personae out of their worlds, flying in spaces of unknown worlds, surrounded by smoke, fear, and darkness, in a tension that harmonizes with the thematic of the show.