On the importance of being an Arab … On the importance of Being Ahmed el Attar

I attended yesterday the play of Ahmed el Attar, “on the importance of being an Arab”, taking place at Rawabet Theater from

31st of July to 2nd of August, and I thought sharing my feedback.

From the “mise en scene” perspective, the play is a really good one, where Ahmed el Attar got his reputation of being a professional dramaturge and director I guess.

In front of a big screen , where a presentation of his love letters, army exempted certificate, some parts of his erotic writings are flipping , el Attar sit there, performing a long extended and uninterrupted phone-call with his friends, his father and his girl friend, soon becoming his wife.

Good lights, good synchronization between the video behind, lights, music and performance!

The music composed and produced by Hassan Khan (well know visual artist). was following the rhythm and tempo of a “shaabi” popular Egyptian music. The soundtracks change in a tempo of their own. Under the hidden crescendo  effect, I was tensed by anticipation, the music has a really significant independent identity in this show  (not sure if this can be taken as  a positive or negative point)

But ….

Seriously I hated the play! At a certain moment, the question “what’s the point!” popped up!, I have attended before plays which were completely pointless! But I was too captured to think about it!

I think if you decided to bring the audience to that close intimate position to your personal life, you have to capture them and give them a good reason to be, and the “expressionless performance” of el Attar, was really annoying, although it was intentional, because you definitely can’t stay 40min with no expression unintentionally, so i can’t say it was a bad performance!

Something else, “m’a tappe sur les nerfs” as we say in French (made me really nervous), in a certain moment of his monologue, Attar criticized the people who made Arts, a luxury for the bourgeoisie, ok but please someone explains to me what kind of play he was presenting yesterday, it’s not because he was speaking Arabic and put a kind off “sha3bi” music that’s mean that this is not `a “bourgeois Play”. Definitely the show wasnot reachable for everyone! And claiming the play “on the importance of being Arab” didn’t made me think that Attar is an Arab example, that can be taken as a general case or a normal Arab one. It was just all about “The importance of being Ahmed al Attar”