Meta-Fedra/Lady of Secrets

Inspired from Racine’s “Phèdre”, Mohamed Abo Elseoud created a poetic play about the patriarchal oppression and the repression of female sexuality. A taboo in the Egyptian cultural and theater, Abo Elseoud succeeded in all honesty to confront a history of muting sexualities, and of censorship. The love that emerges between Fedra and the son of her husband is not sin, but rather a form of compassion and solidarity vis-à-vis the dictator who claims ownership of their lives and bodies. An unprecedented experience in the Egyptian theater where there is no shaming of what is usually labeled as “treason”. The play is written in monologues of poetry in modern literary Arabic. With the introduction of the character of the female narrator/storyteller, the playwright announces from the beginning that he adopts the feminist perspective in the story that he tells. A unique narrative of how the liberation of sexuality -within a religious and oppressive society- is a prerequisite for political and intellectual liberation. At the end, the director Hany Elmetennawy offers to the spectators the chance to judge the two lovers, by forgiving them or by killing them. A brilliant way to involve the audience and to get some signals about the possibility of social change.