Before the Revolution review – a beguiling anatomy of Egypt's uprising
Ahmed El Attar’s bruising two-hander dives into the long lead-up to 2011 in an attempt to determine what causes mass revolt
What causes a people to rise up? Is it a simple trigger or a complex web of reasons? Where news reports prefer an easy cause-and-effect narrative, the reality is less straightforward.
That’s the thinking behind Ahmed El Attar’s bruising two-hander. His own production for Cairo’s Temple theatre company is a theatrical collage that gives an impressionistic account of the driving forces behind Egypt’s revolution of 2011. He uses a striking visual metaphor: dressed in white, actors Ramsi Lehner and Nanda Mohammad stand stock still for the play’s 40-minute duration, staring straight ahead with a look somewhere between caution and terror. They are well advised to be alarmed; around their feet is a bed of nails, leaving no room for divergence, no chance of stepping out of line. Charlie Aström’s lighting glows bright – then brighter still.Continue reading...