Human and Other Things

Fresh from the Namat Theatre in Cairo, Human and Other Things offers a select glimpse of Egypt, albeit in a rather frustrating manner. Occasional moments of intrigue are balanced out by intermittent points of sheer bafflement and all of these instances appear quite suddenly before the play returns to its slow and steady pace. Though on reflection it seems like not much happens in the fifty minute performance, the energy of the actors at least captures your attention enough to distract you from this fact.

The story of the play revolves around a paralysed man in Cairo, who answers a knock at a door to find a strange woman who bursts into his house and begs to be hidden from malicious followers. As police surround his home and surrounding buildings, it is clear that something much deeper is wrong than the man suspects. What this is exactly is never quite explained, but a basic knowledge of current affairs and the recent political history of Egypt allows one to assume confidently the cause of the commotion.

The entire play is in English and in a bizarre way this actually hinders it. It feels like the script has been translated from the original language whilst keeping the original actors. The idioms feel misused and somewhat clumsy and one wonders whether the dialogue could have been slicker. The script itself also suffers from a few structural and pacing problems: quite out of the blue the couple have suddenly slept together and I have no idea why. Without wanting to give too much away, developments at the end of the play suggest a more sinister situation than the premise, or at least hints at a darker metaphor.

All three actors should be praised for their commitment and energy in their performance. Despite script difficulties, they ploughed ahead regardless and interesting use of body language and physicality spoke louder than words ever could.

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Performances

The Blurb

An unlikely meeting leads to love between a paralysed man and a practical lady. Beautiful theatre exploring love and the human spirit. Inspired by the short stories of Naguib Mafhouz and other Egyptian literary influences.

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