Dalia Basiouny

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Latest by Dalia Basiouny


Teenage sexuality invades Egyptian stage

Spring Awakening, German dramatist Frank Wedekind’s first major play, written in 1891, has always been a controversial performance. His bold text examines the impact of the emerging teenage sexuality and the lack of sexual education that, consequently, wreaks havoc on the lives of its young protagonists, ultimately leading to multiple tragedies. The play had a …

Dalia Basiouny

A turbulent landing for new Brit performance

This week, the British Council in Egypt hosted Oxford Playhouse’s performance “One Small Step at El-Sawy Culture Wheel. The play tour is part of Performance Platforms, a regional British Council project which explores performing arts to develop cultural understanding, trust and dialogue between artists and audiences in the region and the UK. Last year, the …

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A hymn to Muslim-Christian love

The Egyptian National Theater’s latest production for the ongoing season is an adaptation of Bahaa’ Taher’s novel “Khalti Safiyya wal Der (Aunt Safiyya and the Monastery). Incarnated in various forms in theater and TV, Taher’s award-winning novel has proven to be timeless with its incisive portrayal of the relationship between Copts and Muslims. Taher’s popular …

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Forcing connections: 'Brothers Karamazov' and Egyptian society

Adapting a novel for the stage is not an easy task. Adapting a seminal text such as “The Brothers Karamazov by Russian master Fyodor Dostoyevsky is even more formidable. Dostoyevsky’s classic novel about the complex relationship between a father and his three sons in feudal Russia has been a long-term endeavor for Egyptian director Mohamed …

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Storytelling performance brings sense of community to theater

The young theater troupe Soubian we Banat (Boys and Girls) offered an evening of storytelling this week in Wekalet El-Kharoub in Gamaleya, the popular neighborhood behind Al-Hussein Mosque in old Cairo. The troupe that presented the gem “Ali Al-Zeibaq, one of the freshest performances in Cairo last year, presented “Min El-Saharra (from the Old Trunk): …

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A triumph of simple aesthetics in 'Oscar and the Lady in Pink'

There is a lot of magic in how the French story “Oscar and the Lady in Pink made it to the Egyptian stage, via Russia, and came to be an annual offering by theater troupe “Talata (Three). French dramatist, novelist, and fiction writer Eric Emmanuel Schmitt had a Sufi-like experience when he was stranded in …

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Dance show fails to present ideas of pioneering feminist

The Egyptian Modern Dance Theatre Company presented its latest production, “Women of Kasem Amin at the Opera House’s Gomhoryia Theater this week. Walid Aouni’s ambitious project to present major figures from Egyptian contemporary history previously paid homage to modern sculpturer Mahmoud Mokhtar and filmmaker Shadi Abdel Salam. The theme of the current production, apparent in …

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New theater voices in the Festival for Creative Youth

For eight successive years, the French Cultural Center in Egypt supported the creativity of young Egyptian theater makers by hosting a festival for Creative Youth, and sponsoring the winner’s participation in Avignon Theater Festival in France each summer. This year’s festival, which took place in the headquarters of the Centre Francais de Culture et de …

Dalia Basiouny

Forum creates a safe space for creativity

The Creative Forum for Independent Theater Groups from Europe and the Mediterranean, which closed its seventh edition this week in Alexandria, placed equal emphasis on training workshops as well as presenting performances. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina’s 10-day non-festival presented 19 different workshops for young theater practitioners, as well as 26 performances including theater, dance, and music …

Dalia Basiouny

Modern dance takes center stage in Creative Forum

Over the past seven years, the cultural scene in Alexandria has been hit with a vivacious energy incited by the Creative Forum for Independent Theater Groups. With a LE 2 ticket, the forum’s performances have attracted Alexandrians interested in theater and dance, offering them an outlet to experience contemporary art works of different nations from …

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7th Creative Forum kicks off

Bibliotheca Alexandrina’s Creative Forum for Independent Theater Groups launched its seventh edition this week. Since its inception, it has managed to create a unique mark on Egyptian theater with a host of programs and performances by artists from across Europe and the Mediterranean region. In a cultural world dominated by festivals, the forum established its …

Dalia Basiouny

That's not the way they like it

Theater in Egypt has been suffering for years from the lack of good scripts. Comedies suffer especially more because they rely chiefly on the mass appeal of star comedians to attract audiences through their unique comedy routines regardless of the subject matter. “El-Nas Betheb Keda (That s the Way People Like It), the winter season …

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The problems are real, the anger is fake

The repertoire system found in many international theaters is virtually unknown in contemporary Egyptian theater. It’s rare when a play is given a second run after its initial opening season. One recent exception was Sadalla Wannus’ “Al-Malek Howa Al-Malek (The King is the King), a massive success when first opened on Al-Salam Theater in downtown …

Dalia Basiouny

YEAREND SPECIAL: A year of adaptations in Egyptian theater

The powerful art of theater is losing its grip on the public in the face of the fierce competition of satellite TV, with the range of choices they offer from the comfort of one’s sofa. For many Egyptians, theater is reduced to the comedies they watch on television. For the decreasing number of spectators who …

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New showcase for Egyptian contemporary dance talents in '2 B Continued'

A fter a successful first edition, the second installment of “2 B Continued, a festival and dance lab organized by Studio Emad Eddin Foundation, returns this week to the American University in Cairo’s Falaki Theater in downtown Cairo. The first edition spawned three plays by three new directors last January. This week, the studio is …

Dalia Basiouny

Momix brings magic to Egypt

Last week, Egyptian audiences in Cairo and Alexandria were treated to highlights of the works of renowned American dance company Momix in the Cairo and Alexandria Opera Houses. “The Best of Momix presented chosen vintages from Moses Pendleton’s inimitable choreography, which he designed for the company that he started in 1981. Pendleton’s work, sometimes in …

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The thief that stole El-Hakim's thunder

Great Egyptian writer Tawfiq El-Hakim is one of Egypt’s most brilliant minds of the 20th century. His prolific career bridged several forms of writing: theater, fiction, political analysis, philosophical writings, journalism, short stories, biographies, religious ruminations and poetry. El-Hakim’s plays rank among his most exciting works. In more than 60 works, written between 1933 and …

Dalia Basiouny

'Nora's Doors' fails to captivate

Nora, the protagonist of Henrick Ibsen’s “Doll’s House, shook the norms of European society with her defiance in the face of patriarchy and her determined quest for an identity that is separate from her roles as a wife and a mother. Her namesake, Nora Amin, used Ibsen’s 19th century play as an entry point to …

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Youth frustrations communicated in new dance performance

This week, young choreographer Mounir Saeed presented two dance performances: “The Game and “View the Dead Art at Downtown’s Rawabet Theater. Saeed is one of 15 Egyptian dancers/choreographers who recently completed a two-year training program organized by Cairo Contemporary Dance Workshop/Studio Emad Eddin. The outcome of the program was presented to great acclaim last month …

Dalia Basiouny

Experimental Fest leaves many questions unanswered

The 21st Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theater (CIFET) closed its curtain on Tuesday night after a nine-day surge of theater activities, lighting many stages in downtown Cairo with plays participating in the international competition and other less fortunate ones performed on the fringe. Eleven international jurors watched the 26 performances presented in the official …

Dalia Basiouny

Searching for experimentation in experimental theater fest

This year, the Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theater (CIFET) presents 26 performances in the official competition, in addition to a number of Egyptian performances staged on the fringe. Besides a number of new plays, many of this year’s performances are reworkings of classical and canonical texts. The Iraqi entry “Sada (Echo) is a new …

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Is experimental theater fest coming of age?

The Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theater (CIFET) is celebrating its 21st birthday this month. Founded by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture in 1990 to impart some fresh blood into the ailing Egyptian theater; the festival has managed to accomplish more than that. The Experimental Festival opened new channels for experimentation, creating a space for …

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An ode to love in Pina Bausch's choreography

After a long wait, Egyptian audiences witnessed the magic of Pina Bausch’s choreography at the Cairo Opera House this week. The grand finale of the 50th anniversary of Goethe’s Institute in Egypt was two dance performances by the German choreographer and director. Tanztheater Wuppertal, the company Bausch led for 36 years before her death in …

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The dance must go on

In spite of the sudden loss of international dance choreographer and innovator Pina Bausch this summer, the Tanztheater Wuppertal company is bravely resuming the scheduled tour. Bausch’s company is staging two of her most acclaimed performances at the Cairo Opera House on Oct. 3 and 4, with the support of Goethe Institute in Egypt. Tanztheater …

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Razzle dazzle with no substance in 'Ward No. 1'

Audience is a mysterious creature. Researchers and theorists often wondered about what makes people leave their dwellings and head to a place of entertainment at a given time. In older forms of theater, this experience was somehow easier to explain. Watching Greek theater was part of the responsibilities and privileges of the citizens of ancient …

Dalia Basiouny

A musical tribute to Salah Jahin

I am the one intrigued by the impossible/ I see the moon and jump high into the sky/ Whether I catch it or not should not matter/ As my heart is already filled with joy. This famous quartet summarizes the philosophy of Salah Jahin, one of Egypt’s most brilliant minds of the 20th century. This …

Dalia Basiouny

A message of hope in Ramadan

High above Cairo’s hustle and bustle, inside the Saladin Citadel, the Ministry of Culture inaugurated its Ramadan cultural program “Layali Al-Mahrousa (Nights of Blessed Egypt) last Thursday. The cultural program is a long-standing Ramadan tradition presented in the past in several locations such Sayyeda Zeinab Square, the Youth Center of Zeinhom, the Workers Institute in …

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Bursting the dream of Si Ali at Salam Theater

Alfred Farag’s “Ali Ganah Al-Tabrezi and his Follower Qouffa is the inspiration for “Si Ali, El Salam Theatre’s current premier production this season. Those expecting a faithful adaptation’s of Farag’s classic play will be disappointed; the disparity between the text and the performance is massive. Farag’s play is about the ability to believe in your …

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Daring not to dance in Rawabet dance showcase

After two years of continuous training with a number of leading Egyptian and international dancers and choreographers, the Cairo Contemporary Dance Workshop Program presented the resulting project, “Open Doors, performed last Thursday at a packed Rawabet Theater. The workshop was organized by Laurence Rondoni through Studio Emad Eddin, in partnership with L’association descent-danse. The aim …

Dalia Basiouny

Beloved folk hero returns to Old Cairo

This week, I ventured again to the back allies of Gamaleya, the old neighborhood situated behind Al-Hussein Mosque in old Cairo. There was no problem climbing over rubble from dug up roads and avoiding potholes, I knew that my prize waited for me at the end of this road: an inspiring theater performance. Soubian we …

Dalia Basiouny