It is only in fairly recent times that Arab writers have turned their hands to the theater. This collection of nineteen short plays gives a valuable insight into a fast-changing and increasingly distinctive area of modern Arabic literature....
|Title||:||Short Arabic Plays: An Anthology|
|Number of Pages||:||306 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Short Arabic Plays: An Anthology Reviews
Where the Power Lies-Cute play. The humor was great and a wonderful vindication of corrupt power systems that exist everywhere.Ansar-Well that was brutal. I really loved how much this was a play and not short story in play format. I could easily see this put on the stage and having a very powerful impact.Baggage-(same author as Ansar) again, what a great drama. I'm honestly blown away by the themes here.The Alley-I liked the pacing, as it draws you in then takes you for a ride. Also, wow, so much Palestinian theatre represented in this anthology.Men Have Heads-Not Bad. The subtext I read is that the wife manipulated the entire situation to effect the change in her husband that she wanted, but plays along because women can't have a deciding role in anything.The Singing of the Stars-I really wanted this to go somewhere. It had potential and appropriate twists and turns but then becomes a tired repeat of a woman avoiding a scandal and a very unrealistic exit.The Person-In principle, I like what it has to say, but the stage directions seem to want to bog it down into absurdism that can be effective, but isn't necessary to communicate how life transpires.Boss Kanduz' Apartment Building-A comedy where the central conceit is that the words for "apartment" and "daughter" are similar enough that a contract for obtaining one can be confused for the other. If it weren't so misogynistic, it might be funny.War and Peace-Women are manipulative. What an innovative concept. War is thoughtful and kind, but able to fight and peace is hot-headed but a romantic. I don't know if making them more than just caricatures makes me happy or sad.Actress J's Burial Night-One of the best plays in the anthology. And probably really wonderful to see an actress relieve her life on stage.Pleasure Club-Sweet jebus. Yes there are other things wrong with this play (and other things that are okay with it), but it has a Black Man in a cage who, with one exception, speaks only in grunts and is eventually auctioned off. That's my review.Was Dinner Good, Dear Sister-The socio-political commentary here is good.The Traveler-As murder-mysteries go, this one was a refreshing take on the concept.The Return of Hulegu-I have literally nothing positive to say.The Coffee Bar-With the exception of the end, I really like the portrayal of corruption and dictatorship in this one. Much better than most of the others in the anthology.The Mask-So problematic. I want to like so much about this, but the "twist" was obvious almost from the beginning, and the end was painful instead of shocking.Reflections of a Garbage Collector-Again, social commentary done right. The Height of Wisdom-I felt like this wanted to have something more to say but never quite achieved its goal.The Glass Café-I will admit to not having fully understood this one. I might need to re-read it or possibly actually see it in order to understand it.The King’s Elephant-Again, they use metaphor to express a larger and more complicated concept. I understand why poetry was the best preferred literary medium, the authors seem to generally prefer metaphor.
I've admired and enjoyed others of Salma Khadra Jayyusi's anthologies, and my rating of this one reflects my highly subjective reaction, not a judgment on the artistic merits of the short plays collected in this book. I'm glad to have read them, but am struck by the degree to which most of the plays (1) deploy their characters as metaphors or personifications of abstract concepts, rather than emotionally believable individuals; and (2) the extent to which the central problem of so many of the plays is resistance to colonialism/ imperialism, with the dominant mood bitter outrage, sometimes sardonic, sometimes horrified. There's nothing invalid about that theme or key, and there are good historical reasons for both to appeal to modern Arab writers. Still I'd have loved to read some plays that were about the characters themselves, and showed more interest in the way human nature mixes the bitter with the sweet.
Interesting collection of plays. Many were entertaining and by far my favorite was "War and Peace" by Tawfiq Al- Hakim.