جماليات المكان ﻓﻲ مسرح صلاح عبد الصبور / The Poetics of Place in the Drama of Salāḥ 'Abd al-Sabūr



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الجيار, مدحت; al-Jayyar, Medhat

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

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[Place in a dramatic work functions as a background to dramatic actions and events. It has psychological, social, historical and ideological dimensions. Therefore, the choice of given places by an author is significant. In poetic drama place is important both on the level of the play and the level of imagery. Place can be used as a symbol as well as a locale. Salāḥ 'Abd al-Sabūr (1931-1981), a prominent Egyptian writer who excelled in poetic dramas as well as lyrical poetry, played on the connotations of place most effectively in dramatic works. The place of the action-- the public square, the prison, the courtroom, the private home, the hut, the palace, the cafe, or a railway carriage-- is an important ingredient of the drama in his various plays: The Passion of Al-Ḥallaj, Layla and Majnun, The Princess Waits, Night Traveller, and After the King Exits. One place that recurs in 'Abd al-Sabūr's plays is the 'intimate home', exemplified in a 'boudoir' or a 'bedroom' in a citizen's house, a royal palace, or a railway carriage. This setting is always associated with physical or mystical love. The 'prison' is another spatial context in 'Abd al-Sabur's drama. It functions as an anti-home. It is associated with the police and leads to the 'court' which functions as complementary to 'prison'. The associations of prison are manipulated to introduce the motif of waiting and salvation. 'Abd al-Sabur also moves from the notion of a physical prison to a spiritual prison. The 'prison' is depicted through the imagery of darkness. At times, the imagery of darkness pervades the 'hut' or the 'cavern' which seem as cruel as the 'prison'. But the hut may also possess intimate imagery of a home as in After the King Exists. Both home and prison are enclosing structures although diametrically opposed. The first is reassuring and the second is threatening. 'Abd al-Sabur uses such binarism to dramatize the struggle between dream and repression. There is also an opposition between enclosed place (home, prison) on one hand and open place (square, forest) on the other. The movement from the enclosed place to the open place coincides in After the King Exists with liberation.]

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