The influences of the theatre of Bertolt Brecht on the Egyptian theatre during the 1960s.
This study examines the influences the Brechtian theatre had on
the Egyptian theatre during the 1960s. Two factors determined
the choice of this specific period. First, the fact that Brecht
was introduced for the first time on the Egyptian stage in the
early sixties, with the result that a growing interest in his
works was generated among Egyptian dramatists, directors and
intellectuals. Secondly, the Egyptian theatre was going through
an unprecedented era of revival in the sixties, reflecting a
nation-wide upsurge of cultural interest in general. The latter
was initiated, promoted and generously subsidized by the state.
The revival of the Egyptian theatre and the introduction of
Brecht were both products of new political and social realities
emerging in Egypt at this particular moment of history.
The main argument of the thesis rests on examining how these
factors contributed to establishing Brecht as the most
influential figure on the Egyptian theatre in the period. These
factors are given full consideration in Part One. The
introduction seeks to put the Egyptian theatre into its
historical Arabic perspective. It gives a critical account of
the indigenous forms of theatre and the common ground they had
throughout the Arab world, long before the arrival of the western
form in the nineteenth century. The account ~s also meant to
underline some corresponding elements between these indigenous
forms and the Brechtian concept, which were brought into focus
as a resul t of the call for a genulne Egyptian theatre of
identi ty that emerged at the time. Chapter I examlnes the
sociopolitical background against which the Egyptian reception
of Brecht took place, followed by a cri tical account of the
Brechtian theatre in Chapter II. Chapter III deals wi th the
introduction of Brecht to Egypt, giving critical accounts of
productions of four of his plays on the Egyptian stage in the
Part Two deals wi th Brechtian influences on Egyptian plays
written in the sixties. It is divided into four chapters, each
of the first three examines the works of a leading dramatist,
with critical accounts focusing on their dramaturgy and subjectmatter.
The last chapter tackles the Brechtian influence through
a different perspective, by examining Egyptian adaptations of
three plays by Brecht.
The conclusion summarizes the argument of the thesis as a whole.