In the Name of the Father

An Egyptian billionaire seems to be ruling the world. He is the absolute Patriarch. His empire extends to his five children who control all the aspects of economic corruption on a global scale. From human trafficking/slavery, to prostitution, human organs’ trade, monuments’s trafficking, weapon trade, drugs, to the biological manufacturing of viruses and the pharmaceutical trade it entails, to the business of war, famine and investing in weapons of mass destruction, the Patriarch and his family have dehumanised everything. Following the death of his abandoned son (from a second wife), the father decides to repent by offering to the dead son his share in his fortune. All the five children rebel against the father. Led by the eldest, Hazem, the brothers and sisters gather to plan for the assassination of their father. The aunt (sister of the father) -who is blind- is the only one who dares to confront the father with his truth. The wife and mother of the dead son fight over whether he should be butties according to the Christian or Muslim traditions. The mother (ex-wife of the father) is christian, while the father is muslim. The wife of the dead son is also christian. A debate over which religion he should follow in death takes place. The mother insists that he is buried in the islamic cemeteries of his father’s family, to guarantee his inheritance as a muslim son. Meanwhile the five brothers and sisters play a deadly game that ends up by killing someone.

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.