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A tribute to folk music

On Sunday 6 December el-Warsha held one of its enchanting music nights at the theatre troupe’s workspace downtown. The performance was the final rehearsal for the ceremony dedicated to the participants of the international conference on "Collective Work in the field of Women’s Rights" from 7 to 9 December.

An original colorful patchwork, the gripping voices and powerful performances captured the glorious heyday of folklore. With wit and talent, and excellent lyrics, tunes and performances, the night unveiled the gems of the Helalia epic. The group recited extracts from the epic in which Khadra el-Sharifa defends herself against the accusations of her husband who castigates her for bearing him a female child when he had longed for a son to bear his name. Recited by the female members of the troupe, the lyrics were sung by Dina el-Wedeidi, Arfa Abdel Rasoul, Nihad Abul Enein, Dalia el-Gendi and Doaa Hamza.

The monologue was outstanding, and the storytelling segment by Arfa Abdel Rasoul, one of the troupe’s key members, was superb. From her memories of el-Hadra market, she dug up stories and characters that shaped her childhood, revealing a glimpse of the social characteristics of Egypt in the 1950s and ’60s. Ramadan Khater’s recital of renowned poet Beyram el-Tounsi’s el-Maqama el-Hanemiya was phenomenal. His gesticulation and variation in intonation matched perfectly the humorous rhyming story of a man who hates his wife and falls into the trap of marrying a better-looking woman.

The highlight of the evening, however, was the comic sketch of the famous 1920 song Yanna Yammak (Either me or your mother) performed by Dalia El-Gendi and Mohammed Ismail. The song, which tells of a typical quarrel between a man and his wife, starts off with a modern twist as the couple use their mobile phones, and ends with the wife yelling in English. The duet was charming, presenting the quarrel with grace and humor, and no exaggeration. Sayyed Darwish’s enchanting music also highlighted the night as Karim Abu Reda sang Bassara (Fortune teller).

El-warsha troupe was founded by Hassan el-Greitly in 1987. Since then they’ve performed numerous plays, including their adaptation of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu-plays Dayer Maydour in 1989, Ghasir el-Leil (Tides of night) in 1993, and Ghazl el-Amaar (Spinning lives) in 1998. el-Warsha is currently rehearsing its latest play, which will show in February

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