Comedy of Sorrows
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Tracy Cameron Francis
August 16, 2013
What is your job on this show?
What is your show about?
Written right after the 2011 revolution in Egypt, it follows a young upper class Egypt woman as she comes to recognize the poverty and oppression of her country.
Where were you born? Where were you raised? Where did you go to school?
I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. Though I was fortunate to have parents who travelled with me around the world at a young age, around Europe, and to visit our family members in Cairo which broadened my perspective of the world and helped to shape my identity. I went to school at Fordham University at Lincoln Center where I studied Middle East Politics and theatre and spend one term at the American University in Cairo.
Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this summer that...?
is dealing with and responding to events that are literally happing right now across the world. It has been exciting, and heart breaking to be working on a play about the revolution in Egypt while it is continuing as I write this.
Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
As an Egyptian American with strong personal ties to the country, I was deeply moved by this play. Also I feel that many people in the U.S. are either disengaged or uninformed about the events happening in Egypt right now and I am hoping that through the experience of seeing this play they will be able to connect on a more personal level to a country and issues that may feel far removed from their daily lives. The play’s story of overcoming oppression and uncertain hope are also extremely universal and I believe will resonate beyond the Egyptian experience.
Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
I would say smart, surprising and will add in symbolic. While the play was written in direct response to the Egyptian uprising of 2011 the poetic and symbolic language of it makes it universal to struggles around the world. The main character of the play is actually symbolic of the country of Egypt- as Egypt has historically been represented as a woman.
Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Yes, I do believe that theatre can bring about societal change, if not directly then in the hearts and minds of the people. Art is a way for us to respond to, investigate and make sense of the world around us. This play is an especially poignant example of using art to engage with events happening in the world right now and to provide a forum for discussion and change.