Ahmed El Attar Mama


In a bourgeois family in Cairo, a mother and daughter are engaged in a hushed battle with each other over the running of the house, and how interaction with its male inhabitants should handled. This rivalry gives rise to a delightful mixture of every day goings on which are dramatic and comical in equal measure.

The question that Ahmed El Attar poses is never highlighted: is everyday family life, and all that it entails, the domestic machine responsible for breeding macho neurosis? Let us not forget that all machos have a mother. Is it possible that man’s oppressive tendencies might be the result of collateral damage caused by feminine power struggles in the household? Could it be said that mothers are implicitly responsible for the tendency towards male supremacy by perpetuating the established order of the patriarchy? Imbued with good intentions, it could be said that all the attention given to male offspring is a custom passed on automatically from one generation to another, regardless of the many questions it poses. Is this custom the breeding ground for the social elaboration of the male dominant type? And for his misogynistic ways? The hypothesis is a potentially hazardous one, but there is actually nothing new about it. Evoked, here, in the context of Egyptian society, it does not, however, unburden men of their own responsibilities in the matter. Not at all. El Attar excels in creating group portraits the cruelty of which we delight in. The satirical tract adopts the allure of a comedy focussing on the mores of Egyptian society, whilst Hussein Baydoun’s stage design places the driving force of the piece in an altogether contemporary setting. Stirred by the author’s intimate reflections, audience members are left to make up their own minds regarding the many sociological questions that the play brings up. Without a doubt, western spectators will be able to pick up on certain, all too familiar, elements extending far beyond the geographical context.
Estimated running time : 1h15
Performed in Arabic, with French subtitles