إشكالية الزمن في المسرح المصري / The Problematic of Time in the Egyptian Theater


Samia A. Asaad



Find in your Library


All Authors

أسعد, سامية أحمد; Asaad, Samia A.

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

Publication Date





[The article examines, in the first part, theoretical and semiological perspectives on dramatic time, and the second part analyzes two modern Egyptian plays where the issue of time is central. Aristotle considers time a factor distinguishing dramatic verse from epic verse. Ubersfeld points out that time enters into a dramatic work such as Oedipus King on the level of performing time, the time in which a given individual completes a discovery, and historical time which starts with a king assuming power and ends with his renunciation of power. Dort asserts that drama both transfers the past into the present and condenses the time of past events into a temporally compact performance. As for Brecht's epic theater, past and present are juxtaposed and their conflict provokes the spectator to making decisions. Time can be indicated on stage through changes in lighting, mise-en-scène, or verbal references by the dramatic personae. Time can also be embodied in a dramatic character as in a Duras play or negated as in an Adamov play through a clock without hands. The course of events in a play may give rise to a linear or circular conception of time. However, in certain cases, it triggers speculation on the nature of time. Tawfiq al-Hakim in his play The Men of the Cave (The Sleepers of Ephesus), published in the early thirties, addresses philosophically the question of time. The protagonists become aware of the abyss separating their past from their present, in varying ways which depend on their point of view. A close reading of the signs in the play indicating the passage of time is provided, including dreams which foretell. Al-Hakim uses structural irony and esthetic economy in his play by contrasting two moments: that of the exit of the men from the cave and that of their return to it. The play of Mahmud Diyab which is also entitled The Men of the Cave, was written in the mid seventies. It takes place in a museum where the statues come to life. It also uses dreams as foreshadowers. However, it addresses ideological and political issues. The conflict of past and present is seen in terms of class struggle, thus it problematizes the present rather than addressing the more abstract question of time.]

First Page


Last Page