The Director of El-Nahda Association for Scientific and Cultural Renaissance in Cairo William Sidhom: It’s a sublime human demonstration and a loving energy.
The director of Danish Egyptian Dialogue Institute Hans Christian Nielsen: This artistic cooperation project is a real example of dialogue.
The Founder of the Commedia School in Denmark: We came here looking for commedia and we found it in central Cairo.
Cairo – December 19, 2017
In a festive atmosphere, Cairo-based El-Nahda Association for Scientific and Cultural Renaissance – Jesuit Cairo hosted a theater show that lasted for more than an hour, in which Danish and Egyptian artists participated.
The show was the outcome of an artistic cooperation sponsored by the Danish Egyptian Dialogue Institute, through an artistic stay that gathered artists from several countries for thirteen days in Cairo, during which they exchanged experiences with Egyptian artists in order to create a joint theatrical performance which is predominantly comic. During the play, the performers were wearing masks that represent the archetypes of Commedia dating back to the history of the world theater, each reflecting certain human values.
The Director of El-Nahda Association for Scientific and Cultural Renaissance in Cairo, Father William Sidhom, welcomed the audience and said in a brief speech before the opening of the show: “I welcome you all on behalf of jesuit Cultural Center. What is happening today is a subleme human demonstration. We all know that the freedom we all cherish is manifested through art and that artists are the freest people”.
“We celebrate civilized intercultural and interfaith dialogue,” Father Sidhom said, referring to the participation of artists from different countries: Denmark, Turkey, Croatia, Spain, France and Lebanon, as well as Egypt.
The Director of El-Nahda Association for Scientific and Cultural Renaissance in Cairo regarded this show as “a loving energy amidst the violence we are living”. “We need a lot more projects like this to prove that any individual, whether he is Danish, Egyptian or any other nationality, belongs to humanity. We are all brothers and this is not hypocrisy, it’s a reality we have lived, thank the Lord” he added.
“We celebrate freedom, humanity and beautiful art. I thank the staff of El-Nahda Arts School for Social Theater (NAS). I thank all the participating members from every country. I welcome you all and Happy New Year” Father Sidhom concluded.
The School of Social Theater (NAS), together with the Commedia School in Denmark, participated in the intensive course during which the cultural and artistic exchanges between the participants took place throughout the duration of the artistic stay.
The director of the Danish Egyptian Dialogue Institute Hans Christian Nielsen attended the presentation and expressed his pride to watch this project on stage. As the director of the institute, he considered the project “a very real example of dialogue.”
Nielsen pointed out that it was not just a dialogue between Danish and Egyptian artists but it also included artists from many different countries in Europe.
He added that the artistic dialogue during the performance was based on very old theatrical traditions, dating back to the history of the theater, pointing out that these theatrical forms are very well known, and can be easily recognized in all countries.
The director of the Danish Egyptian Dialogue Institute explained that the play exposes different types of characters, and that the dialogue takes place on two levels: a dialogue on stage and an interactive dialogue with the audience.
Nielsen concluded by thanking the Commedia School, Nahda Arts School for Social Theater (NAS) and everyone who was involved in the realization of this project.
“We are eight persons from Denmark who came here looking for commedia, and I think we found it in central Cairo,” said the founder of the Danish Commedia School Ole Brekke in reference to the geographical location of El-Nahda association located near Ramses Square in central Cairo.
He ended his speech smiling and chanting: “Viva Commedia”
The artistic coordinator of the Nahda Arts School for Social Theater (NAS) Mostafa Wafi said that the school is engaged in providing art in the street and that they are trying to work with young participants in the aim of meeting other cultures, learning other forms of professional theater so they can develop their tools and familiarize with elements which are absent from the traditions of Egyptian Theater.
Wafi added that the next offer take place at the Youth Cooperation Center in Al-Haram, Giza.
Lilian Fayez, coordinator of the inter-cultural and artistic project between Nahda Arts School for Social Theater (NAS) and the Danish Commedia School, told the Danish Egyptian Dialogue Institute website that the play came after a 13-day artistic stay, during which rehearsals took place focusing on body movements, improvisation and the style of human comedy in theatrical performance.
She added that the cultural exchange was sponsored by the Danish Egyptian Dialogue Institute and the Intercultural Center in Denmark.
The show was attended by dozens of spectators from different age groups. They applauded the various groups that participated in the show and interacted with them, especially when some of the performers were improvising on stage, or when they publicly commented on each other’s performance in a comic way.
What seemed remarkable was the way the performers mixed Arabic and English and how some of them, notably those from European countries, used words from the Egyptian dialect which made the audience laugh more than once.