Ever since he stepped into the world of media production, writer and director Ahmed El Attar attached his name to revealing controversial content which depicts nothing but the truthful status quo of Egyptian society. Through a detailed, well-written script and one-of-a-kind talent that captivates one to the story effortlessly, El Attar engraves the –sometimes hurtful- truth on the walls of the beautifully portrayed art of his plays.
The artist is to have his latest considerable theatre hit, Mama, in its local premiere amid international praise. In his latest plays El Attar tackles the issue of women’s roles in implementing gender discrimination against females, and how they subconsciously encourage it against their own daughters.
Mama is a social theatre play that is written and directed by El Attar, which takes place inside the living room of a Cairo-based, upper middle-class family. The play takes the audience into a world that looks similar to the ones most of them live in, featuring the family bonds in Egypt, and their effect of making a difference.
In the living room, which protects family intimacy and welcomes visitors from outside, and where women dominate the scene. Mama exposes the complex layers of alternating relationships of power and morality which generate and motivate them, according to the press release of the play.
In 75 minutes, El Attar leads audiences behind the scenes of women’s oppression in Arab society. To what may look like men dominating women and controlling their lives, he sheds light on another perspective which is that women are the source of implementing these oppressive ideas in their children while growing up.
The play premiered at the Avignon international theatre festival–the largest theatre festival in the world– and was an international success throughout the past year when it toured over eight cities in Europe. It will open its doors to Egyptian audiences on eight evenings, between 12 and 15 September, and between 20 and 23 at Cairo’s Falaki theatre.
The play was coproduced by the Avignon festival, making it the first Egyptian play to ever be coproduced by the 72-year-old festival. Mama, which premiered at the Avignon festival in July 2018, has been touring some of the most prestigious festivals and theatres across France since then, according to the press release.
In its international premiere at the Avignon festival, El Attar stated that “Arab society is a purely masculine society. We must go beyond the obvious and search even more to be able to change. The mother is often the one who raises the children. She feeds them the same traditional concepts of the patriarchal society. She contributes to the transmission of masculine ideas. I try in ‘Mama’ to highlight the conflicts that occur between women in the same family for reasons of control and domination.”
Featuring 13 characters, the play reflects the image of society with all the characters that grow up, become shaped and forcefully ensconced into their predetermined roles.
Mama stars Abdelrahman Magdy; Dalia Ramzi; Hadeer Moustafa; Heba Rifaat; Menha El Batrawy; Menna El Touny; Mohamed Hatem; Mona Soliman; Nanda Mohammad; Noha El Kholy; Ramsi Lehner; Teymour El Atta;, Belal Ali, and Seif Mohamed.
The play is the third part of the family trilogy as the director created a series of the family structures, and the desired change for a difference in the Arab world.
Furthermore, El Attar follows the school of showcasing the daily dilemmas of Egyptian society onstage. Believing in of presenting another perspective of social issues, he tackles what most people see as closed taboo subjects. In his previous plays, “La vie est belle”, “Waiting for My Uncle from America”, and “The Last Supper”, El Attar also tackled social sides of regular Egyptian families from different perspectives.
El Attar received numerous local and international recognition. Most recently, he was named Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (2019), a prestigious award bestowed by the French Ministry of Culture which was offered to El Attar for his significant contribution to the field of theatre and for an important role he plays in creating bridges between the Egyptian/Arab and French art and theatre.