Half-hearted play review

Posted on September 18, 2006


So, the play, Thawret Ala’a. E and I spent hours rushing around in the hot sun printing up tickets and having them cut into strips and so forth. And I was wondering how I was going to spend the four hours between the end of work and the start of the play! Leisure time is no match for the city of Cairo. By the way, have the boys at AUC always been so stunted, nerdy and poorly dressed? I don’t remember them as being that unappealing. The girls are looking good, though.

Finally E whisked me to a barn, somewhere downtown, claiming to be a theatre. There was not much to support such an allegation. There wasn’t even a door. On entering I was immediately deployed by E to number the tickets. It was pitch dark, and there we were sitting on hard wooden stairs in the stifling heat numbering tickets by cell phone light. I felt that in all honesty I deserved to see several cast members naked for making this sort of effort. As it was, I was satisfied by just being exempt from paying for my ticket.

So the show started and I whipped out my fan, as there was nothing resembling air-conditioning in the area. The guy next to me looked at me jealously and congratulated me on my foresight. I explained about the refugees and the hellish Li Beirut experience and offered him a thin notebook I extracted from my voluminous bag. To my left, at least three women extracted fans from their voluminous bags and started to fan themselves. These were obviously hardened churchgoers. Such an accessory is as telling as a fluffy beard. I was pleased and gratified not to be the only person with an actual Spanish fan.

As to the actual show itself…hmm. Not really my thing. I found it to be a bundle of clichés, on the whole. There was this part where a sort of animated painting video was shown, and that was mesmerizing and beautiful. I’d really like a copy of that, actually. Salam is a really talented artist. However, that was, as far as I’m concerned, the only original form or expression I saw there that night. Obviously the music was original in the sense that it was written specifically for that play; but the lyrics and tunes were…meh (how’s that for insightful and descriptive analysis). And they certainly didn’t mesh together. The band was great though. There was also much that was lacking in the sound arrangements and a lot of people weren’t loud enough. I still applaud the effort that went into it all. I think even if I had liked philosophy, which I remembered I didn’t only after the play had started, I still wouldn’t have found much that was thought-provoking in that performance. Of course the numb behind didn’t help matters.