Two plays, El-Leila El-Kebira and The Miser, attracted large audiences to an open-air theatre erected on the Cairo Opera House's grounds on Thursday for consecutive performances.
El-Leila El-Kebira was created by renowned late puppeteer Nagy Shaker, with poetry by Salah Jahin, music by Sayed Mekawy, scenography by Mostafa Kamel and mise-en-scene by Salah El-Sakka.
The idea for the play came from Shaker’s interest in short radio programmes on the moulid (a folk carnival celebrating the Prophet or a saint’s anniversary).
For the play, Shaker created numerous unique and lovable characters: children, clowns, a lion tamer, the omda (mayor), and street vendors such as Nishan, a puppet modelled on Salah Jahin.
When the play saw light in 1960, it became an instant success. Following the success in Egypt, the international accolades began with Bucharest’s International Puppet Festival (1960), where it won awards for puppet and scenography designs. Such achievements were repeated over the years as the play continued to collect awards and recognition in Syria (1967), the US (1980), Jordan (1993), France (1995), Italy (1997) and Tunisia (2000), as well as Egypt.
The performances of the Miser, or L'Avare in the original French, was directed by Khaled Hassouna and performed by the Youth Theatre troupe.
It starred Ashraf Tolba, Mahmoud Metwally, Mohyeddin Yahya, Suzan Medhat, Nashwa Abdel-Rahim, Manar Abdel Halim, Hadi Mohy, Essam Ashraf, Mohamed Khalaf, Abdul Bari Saad, Amr Walid, Yasmine Askar, Fadi Samir, Alaa Al-Nadi, and others.