A show currently running at the Creativity Centre at the Cairo Opera House, called Ard Khass 1 (Special Show 1), combines four performances in one.
Having completed a three-year training course under the supervision of Essma El-Sayed at Studio Khaled Galal, ten emerging directors present their work at the show.
The directors were challenged to adapt one-hour dramas into ten minute shows.
Young director Hani Abdel-Nasser, with his short performance titled Tamsil fee Tamsil (Acting in acting), opts for musical theatre to showcase the dilemma between comedy on stage and gambling or cheating in real life. Both of the actors in his piece are ordinary people who seek to do something meaningful with their lives. Their existential dialogue, at times sung, provokes interesting reactions from the audience.
The customs and traditions of Upper Egypt surface in The Blood Wedding, by Federico Garcia Lorca, adapted and directed by Yosra El-Sharqawi. Despite being originally a tragedy, the director soaks her work in humour. The love scenes are ridiculous, especially when the bride, who is obese, shakes her lover to the point of choking him, and when the man loses his voice when trying to pronounce the words of love. The sound effects are sarcastic and accentuate the comedic elements of the situation, provoking laughter from the audience.
The last two shows are the absurdist Shooting Rats by Peter Turrini and directed by Wessam Hani, and Laylat Al-Zifaf (Wedding Night) by Tawfiq Al-Hakim, directed by Marwa Radwan.
In Wessam Hani's adaptation of Shooting Rats, the actors are dressed and act like clown-robots, in a room filled with trash and rats. Later on they evolve and are depicted as regular people trapped in their lives. They start to discover love and freedom, sing and dance together before the tragic end when they are shot by rat hunters.
Marwa Radwan stresses the actors’ body language, facial expressions and intonation. A bride, shy and silent, reveals to her husband that she loves someone else and they decide to divorce. But slowly, the woman falls in love with her husband and manages to seduce him. The couple go from one state to another with ease and simplicity and their love is celebrated to the accompaniment of an amusing song.
Finally, all the actors and directors return to the stage to dance to Indian rhythms.
The public waits impatiently for the second part of this show, Ard Khass 2 (Special Show 2).