Sex and nudity at Cairo Theater festival?

Published August 31st, 2003 - 02:00 GMT

If Cairo's International Festival for Experimental Theater (CIFET) kicks off this year, it will surely be amazing, as various issues, especially concerning how much "sex" and "nudity" are permitted, are at the core of discussions. 

 

As of mid August, even the companies coming to Egypt had not yet all been informed or issued invitations. Desperate calls kept coming in from such countries as Lebanon and Morocco, warning that there wouldn't be time for them to raise funds for the tickets to join the festival. As for the show representing Egypt, it's destined to remain a mystery.  

 

The hottest issue regarding the festival is undoubtedly censorship. Currently, all foreign shows must send a video to be screened for scenes of nudity and/or any sexual contact, according to Egypt Today

 

The Dutch version of Othello, for example, performed by the Toneel Theater can highlight the dilemma. Originally, Shakespeare's Othello appeared nude in several scenes. However, Egypt, as a Muslim state, won't allow this, so Anne-Marie from the Dutch embassy told the Toneel to send a video with Othello covered up properly and decently dressed…  

 

That piece of advice, apparently wasn't enough. Festival director Fawzi Fahmi objected to a sexy scene between Othello and Desdemona. "He actually lies on top of her on the floor!" he screamed. At one point, during the "negotiations", the amount of sex permitted, if at all, surely became the focus of attention. 

 

Should Othello kiss Desdemona, who after all is his wife? Finally, the Dutch agreed to tone down and give up the offensive kissing and lying on top of a female. The business of Othello "tupping" Desdemona on stage as she tries to convince him to take back Cassio is out. They have even agreed to modestly cover up the play's prostitute, Bianca. (Albawaba.com)

© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)


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