CAIRO: “I’m 29 years old. I was born in 1985. Why is ‘dreaming’ my biggest dream? Must I have graduated from the Military College in order to be a president? Before telling me what I’ll take from the new Suez Canal, can anyone tell me what I took from the old one?” the first players recite in the opening monologue of the play “1980 and upwards.”
The play performed daily at the Hosapeer Theater downtown by the El Prova Studio, and discusses the lives of talented youth, touching on eighties nostalgia.
“Our debut performance was at the Al-Gomhoria Theater Jan. 11, 2012. We were a group of friends for more than 10 years, studying in the Faculty of Commerce at Ain Shams University. We were in the acting team in college; however after graduation we decided to continue, and within 10 days we were performing without any support or help from anyone,” Mohamed Attaby; one of the play actors told The Cairo Post Monday.
“1980 and Upwards” has won several awards, including best script, best rising director, and best play in the National Festival 2013. They also performed in Sudan’s Free Theater Festival in 2014.
The first scene starts with a group of youth gathering to take a picture, then one of them ask the photographer to join them, and he stands beside them facing the audience to start the show with number of unanswered questions about life and politics.
Written by Mahmoud Gamal, and directed by Mohamed Gabr, the 90-minute-performance has risen above standard amateur fare, to a play performed in different governorates and countries; the play’s page on Facebook announced Saturday that they will be performing on Gezwet Theater in Alexandria on March 30, 31 and April 1 for free. The show will play in Cairo until the end of the month.
Attaby told the Cairo Post, when they first started 2012, very few people used to attend. “At times there were three, or even one, person at the theater, but every time we did our performance.”
He said that during every new season of the play, they update the script and the scenes to match current events. “Now our audience varies between children, families and youth.”
Tickets go on sale for 10 EGP ($1.30) for the day’s performance at 6 p.m. at the theater, and seats usually sell out within minutes.
Positive and encouraging feedbacks from figures and celebrities have gone viral on social media regarding the show; Eskenderella band member Samia Jaheen wrote on her Facebook page March16, “we still have youth who don’t fear; it’s the theater of bravery.”
“Currently we don’t have further plans after our performance in Alexandria; however, if we receive any offers to perform anywhere; we will do it even if it was for free,” Attaby said.