Here’s everything you want to know about the Egyptian folk drama

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There is no doubt that Egyptian folk heritage is the culture of the nation and the product of a long process of development that spanned thousands of years.

Such a heritage is deeply rooted in every human society, incorporating a great deal of wisdom in its widely varying norms and patterns. No one can deny the influence of folklore in any society. One of the fundamental problems of folklore is folk drama.

I remember the words of our thinker and professor Dr Abdel Hamid Younis on the nature of drama, and that while drama relates to event or action in its ancient connotations, it is not just depicting the action, but it is rather the action itself.

Our teacher saw that the relationship of theater with people is a relationship based on creativity on the one hand, and artistic taste on the other. Folk drama is derived from the depths of human history, as it was detected from a certain belief, ritual, or some kind of will. Thus, folk drama is a set of dramatic forms and contents that have been portrayed by people to gain some benefit or value, or to fulfill social or psychological goals.

The origin of folk drama is deeply rooted in ancient Egyptian civilization: its manifestations can be found on the walls of ancient Egyptian temples.

Those who study theater ignore the fact that the ancient Egyptian civilization is older than the Greek and Roman civilizations, especially in the field of theater. I will cite an example to prove it: the drama of Hor and Seth when the conflict intensified between the brothers Osiris and Seth on the throne of Egypt. Osiris was assassinated by his brother Seth. Osiris was brought back to life by the magic of Isis and he regained his throne in the afterlife. The conflict resumed between Hor and Seth over the throne of Egypt. They stood before the Court of the Gods, which was presided over by God Ra.

Hor was aided by the magic of his sister Isis and help from Ra’a. Everyone was afraid of Ra’a and they gave their verdict on the side of the right, the king of Egypt in Hor.

I will mention another example of folk drama (the coronation of King Senowsret I) which shows that folk drama is deeply rooted in ancient Egyptian civilization. After the death of “Amenhat I”, the father, we found in the hieroglyph papyrus that the son (Senowsret I) was to inherit his father’s throne. One finds on the walls of the temples how “Senowsret I” prepared the royal vessel for the coronation. It is written in the papyrus how the gods helped the new heir.

The legend of Osiris and Isis was interpreted during the feasts of the god Says and Abidos. The ancient Egyptian theater had all the elements of theatrical performance: the story, the setting and the place of the performance, as well as the texts and the scenes.

Another example of folk drama is the play of Osiris at the temple of Abydos during the third millennium BC which mimics the play of pain of Christ. Also, there were other plays that were shown to the public, in which the actors were not religious men. There have been other depictions dating from the Eighteenth Dynasty of one of the actors who spent three years playing the drums. He also mentioned that if he acted like God, I would act as a ruler, and if I died, I would be resurrected, which indicates the details of his theatrical tours.

As well as the text engraved on the cemetery of Seti I, where the dramatic texts and the motif used in the writing of the theatrical libretti are inscribed on the walls of the temple. This book included the names of the actors, the characters and their theatrical role, then the dialogue that distinguishes the ancient Egyptian theatrical librettos.

From the Temple of Edfu, the piece Triomphe d’Horus sur les Hippocampes is a great poetic piece in which the verses are balanced and sung in a lyrical way in the presence of a choir which participates in the development of the theatrical event interrupted by five musical pieces.

And tombs of Bani Hassan in Minya in the cemetery of Khnumhotep, which represents the play of the four winds. Quatre vents is a text representative of the confessions of negation of chapter 125 of the “Book of the dead”, because it showed how the deceased participated in the feasts of Osiris and his sacred representations.

Popular theater is still closely linked to everyday and social life. There is no doubt that the masquerade dance is only the means of the masses to seek a psychological and social reality beyond their real life. They use masks or types of paint to paint their face and body and disguise themselves to have symbolic meaning in the context of ancient forms of folk drama.

We draw inspiration from our ancient folk literature like the Isis play or the Shahrazad play. We then find Perm El Tonsy who takes a few episodes from “Helaly Sera” to show the relationship between the Arabs of the East and the Arabs of the West and also in Aziza and Younis. When we mention folk drama, we see that it records its characteristics from our ancient folklore. Folk drama is the consciousness of people themselves not for artistic enjoyment, but to have a healthy and healthy life.

Art lives with human beings and with human beings and for them, and it not only produces unique and impressive products, but it also breaks new ground in our feeling and intellectual perception. Thus, art enriches human life and no one thinks that there is an artist who works and produces for himself, but for the good of others. For this reason, the presence of those who know and appreciate the arts is of great importance for the presence of any work of art.

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