Alfred Farag knew how to volunteer The Thousand and One Nights to present his ideas

“… Alfred Farag continues in this beautiful play to play the strings of a subject he has previously deepened in his comic and tragic plays, that is, justice in its absolute sense, for which Al-Zeer Salem fought and Alfred launched on his tongue. That famous exclamation, “Injustice is that black star.” The constant in the day sky, what can bring it down? “. Here Faraj specifically discusses social justice, in which he stopped in plays such as “Askar and Haramiya” and “Passport” on a Divorce Paper “, but in this clever comedy he delays in reflecting on the responsibility of the thinker or the intellectual. ‘ A general on the establishment of justice in society, and he emphasizes here that the role of this intellectual is about to be the most important role, because through the power of thought alone life progresses, provided this power offers the opportunity becomes for effective work.He does this except when he has faithfully married the imagination, that is, after the king has given him the his treasuries to distribute wealth, but in a more comprehensive sense when he allowed himself has to participate in the decision-making power …). In all sorts of virtuous cities there must be For intellectuals with vision to be in the heart of power, and who of course without greed to like Tabrizi of a piece to convince bread. With these intense phrases, the Egyptian writer Bahaa Taher in one of his books expressed his view of that play written by Alfred Farag and considered one of the deepest that belonged to the so-called theater of the sixties in Egypt.

From optimism to anger

In fact, most of the plays that appeared for Faraj between “The Barber of Baghdad” (1957) and “Marriage on a Divorce Paper” (1973) are the most prominent works in that current characterized by extreme optimism before it envelops was by anger and pessimism after the accumulation of defeats and the beginning of the Arab collapse after the June defeat (June) 1967. However, there is no doubt that “Ali Jinnah Tabrizi” (1969) has a prominent place not only among the works of Pharaoh, but in the context of the works of the great poles of that renaissance of the creators of the theater during that stage and before and after, from Noaman Ashour to Mahmoud Diab and from Michael Roman to Saad Wahba, in spite of their changing tendencies and positions, united by their belief in the role of theater in particular and art in general in the “rescue” operation after they bear responsibility for the collapse. In fact, Alfred Farag was not only the most productive among the boys of that stage, but also the most ruthless in the so-called “self-flagellation game”, and thus the most sensitive to the need to get out of the bottleneck. Perhaps we can say here that Faraj, specifically in the play “Tabrizi”, as he wrote it after the fatal June defeat, thereby not only wanted to weep over the ruins, as many creators of his colleagues did, but beyond it wanted to go. to seek a way out. In fact, his pursuit in this particular play was evident on more than one level.

Conscious roots for heritage

On the one hand, we see him renewed in the theatrical form as he seeks to root the theatrical play in form and content by responding to what at the time became a kind of general aspiration, i.e. the blending of the modernity of theater as it came from Europe . and others, especially in the footsteps of those considered among Arab writers, from Chekhov.From the Russian to the German Brecht, and from the Norwegian Ibsen to the American Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams, by of course Samuel Beckett and Eugene UNESCO and their “unreasonable” theater, and between what can be deduced from the Arab narrative heritage, on top of the stories of One Thousand and One Nights, the Maqamat, and so on. Therefore, Alfred Faraj did not surprise anyone when he left even before that, and since “The Barber of Baghdad” was inspired by those Arab nights, but as an excuse to rather address the Arab reality. In this regard, we can follow Faraj’s journey since then, through “Suleiman Al-Halabi” (1965) and “Al-Zeer Salem” (1967) to the play “Tabrizi” that we are currently working on here. In all these works, Pharaoh took refuge in the heritage, modernized it with meanings and situations, kept it in shape, but rather gave it its historical form and, in the first place, an entertaining spectacle, with a touch of wit, even comedy. , which explains the great success achieved especially by these plays, which led Faraj to relate to the stories of the nights, even in non-theater areas …

Three stories and the wonder of art

However, Faraj himself tells us how he was inspired by “the story of Tabrizi and his follower Qafa” from three stories from “A Thousand Nights” which he defines as “The False Table”, “The Story of the Garb” and “The Story of Marouf Al-Iskafi “. It is noteworthy that these stories are far apart in the context of the stories of a thousand nights from the narrative point of view, but also from the geographical point of view, although they are close in terms of the time of their occurrence. What we usually call the “miracle” of art, he combines it in the context of a single story, which on the one hand becomes the story of his hero Ali Jinnah of Tabrizi, and the story of who will become his follower during his journeys from Baghdad to China in the course of the drama’s chapters, one continuous story. Specifically, a story that carries those intellectual meanings, contemporary to the time of writing and presentation of the play, as Bahaa Taher informs us. However, this is an issue that Alfred Faraj himself insists on in what he wrote about the play, where he says: “Although the three stories are far apart in terms of their location in a thousand nights, I immediately believed that they were very homogeneous Each of the three heroes dictated to him his psychological and intellectual formation and his own imagination The desire to deceive yourself and others into the existence of something that does not exist in reality.It is clear that what Pharaoh meant here, the ability of human thinking is to deal with what is symbolic and imaginary, as if it has to do with the truth being rediscovered on stage here before us.

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The power of thought and imagination

And when Pharaoh asks himself a basic question about who Ali Jinnah Tabrizi is and what he is doing here, the answer comes from the beginning of the play, where the man looks at us without money, his wealth, his palace, his orchard and everything lose. he owns, but that does not mean for him that he has become poor. He, as Bahaa Taher explains to us, “knew all the pleasures of wealth and could get it back with his imagination, so when he is hungry he sets a table full of all that is delicious and sweet, and this description evokes the appetite of a passer-by standing, he thinks the table is real, and he is surprised when he enters the empty palace that there is nothing there But al-Tabrizi, as the genius of the imaginary table, convinces Qafa of his existence , and even stretches out his hand to eat with him in its delicacies. ” And so, by the power of the dream, Tabrizi makes his honor when he then leaves with his follower on a journey to an unknown land on the border of China, in this land we find the grievances about which he complained while stood in Baghdad, like famine and poverty, and they were legendary magnified.Where wealth is concentrated in the hands of the Shahbandar, the rich merchant, the owner of the khan, then the king and the vizier.What the rest of as far as we see of the people of this country, they are beggars and guards of the regime.

Imagination overturns the system of things

But Tabrizi’s arrival changes the order of things “when he releases his hidden army into the city, that is, his dreams of accepting the role of the tourist prince, followed by an endless convoy of goods, gold and jewelery. ” Al-Tabrizi, to master the conspiracy, that is, the illusion, takes out the capital of the young man he saved from the money for the shoemaker’s shop and spreads it without counting among the beggars of the city. . His generosity blinds the rich of the city, and they also lend him without account, to get the money back double when the caravan arrives. So does the king he now trusts. Tibrizi thus creates a new reality from his dream, which connects him to the role of the intellectual and his ability that surpasses reality and its volatility. This play therefore played at the time in a kind of reconsideration of the role of the intellectual in the recrystallization of reality in a society that excluded that role, especially since the author confirms at the end of his play that “the convoy will indeed come to be the just reward for man’s jihad in peace, war, work and hardship, even if it was Tabrizi’s imagination, will be the engine of his coming.

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