The first of its kind in decades to hit Egyptian theatres, Leila is a musical play that tells the story of two lovers who had their romance destroyed by black magic and envy.
Shakespeare was notorious for the way he dramatised almost any given scenario at hand; he was probably the best theatre playwright that ever existed. Remember the time he told us in his famous All the World’s a Stage speech that indeed the world is a stage, and all the men and women are merely actors? And whether we like it or not, this is mostly true. Humans have the capacity to enter and exit this metaphorical stage as they please; they are the tellers of their own stories and the stories of those around them. That’s what makes the stage so compelling and of valuable substance.
But in today’s world, the stage is not always a place of dramatic misery, like Shakespeare would have you believe, especially when we have elaborate, soul reviving musical plays taking the stage. Leila is the latest musical to hit Egyptian theatres and it’s packed with singing, dance, and fabulous outfits; the first of its kind to be performed in decades. The play will run from the 20th of April until the 21st of May at The Marquee Theatre in Cairo Festival City.
As a whole, the country’s theatres have been largely void from the Egyptian musicals most of us grew up with before the turn of the millennium. We’re talking about the Soad Hosny type musicals that would blow us away by composition and set design, costumes, dialogue, and, of course, the Broadway-like feel it gave us. Leila is bringing back exactly that. The play tells the story of Leila and Kareem who are passionately in love and seek to be married to one another. With an intelligent plot twist, their love is ruined by the jealousy and envy of their friends who use a witch’s black magic to tear them even further apart. But will their love overpower the witch’s sorcery and the spite of their friends?
What makes the play so compelling is the resurgence of theatrical themes in the form of a musical, and the fantasy elements that have made their way back to the stage. It revisits everything that Egyptian drama was once known for.
The cast comprises wide ranging talents, including hip-hop and jazz dancers, as well as fresh up-and-coming Egyptian theatre stars. The play’s script, music, and lyrics have been written by Ibrahim Maurice, and the piece is directed by Ibrahim Afifi. The choreography has been put together by the talented Dalia Fadel and the costumes were designed and tailored by Mona Eltounsy.You can catch the play on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at Cairo Festival City.
Check out Leila's Facebook page.
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Photography: Ahmed Hussein