Stories Never Told by Sheharazad

Written and staged in 2005, this play can be considered as a prediction of the Egyptian revolution of 25 January 2011. Nonetheless it would not be a happy prediction as the playwright foresees the chaos that follow the revolution. Once the traditional conflict between Sheharazad and Sheharayar is established, and Sheharazad engages in her daily nightly storytelling to prevent her husband from having sex with her, and therefore to preserve her life, the role of sheharazad develops into a political one. She tries to explain to the king the consequences of his oppressive rule, and tells him how much the average citizens are suffering. She tries to mediate the necessity for change. Yet the king is rather consumed by his avid desire for authority and power, accompanied by his lack of self-confidence and his mistrust in women. He cannot change, neither can he see in Sheharazad anything beyond the objectified female who will soon be killed. The play follows a structure of seven nights. At the end, the revolution breaks through the walls of the royal palace. The rebels enter the king’s bedroom by force. Everybody has deceived the king, even his own soldiers have taken the side of the revolution. Sheharazad tries to prevent violence between the rebels and the king, and ends up being killed during the attempt. Sheharazad as a martyr of failed revolution.


Alaa Abd-Elaziz

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