El Liss appears in AUC

Oil Painting of Tawfik el HakimEl Liss (The Burglar) will be the next main stage production to take place at the American University in Cairo, opening in November.

El Liss is a play about innocence betrayed. It’s about young people that are struggling in a world that is corrupt and corrupting. It’s about all the horrifying things that business classes do in Egypt; how they harm the people and help them to become worse, and the prosperities they bring. It’s about the dishonesty of the business class. It takes place in the 1940’s.

El Liss is an Arabic play, written by Tawfik El Hakeem. The play is directed by AUC theatre professor Dr. Mahmoud El Lozy.

Tawfik El Hakeem is one of the major pioneer figures in modern Arabic literature. In the particular realm of theatre, he fulfils an overarching role as the sole founder of an entire literary tradition. Hakeem was viewed as a person who hated women, as he wrote a few misogynistic articles and remained a bachelor for an unusually long period.

 “I’ve been doing theatre, teaching, writing plays, had some of my plays performed”, said Mahmoud El Lozy, director of El Liss. “I’ve Directed plays, acted in theatre, on cinema, in television. I’ve directed a lot of Arabic plays by mostly by Tawfik El Hakeem, and Saad El Din Wahaba. I’ve directed plays in English, I did Ghosts, Traveller without Luggage, and I’ve also directed plays in French.”

“I’ve acted in many plays,” continued El Lozy, “most recently The School For Wives, by Moliere, which was the previous main stage production at the American University in Cairo, showed last spring. I’ve acted in Arabic films and American films, such as Mohamed Khan’s film, Fares el Madina (Knight of the city), Youssef Shahine’s Alexandria New York, and Khaled Hagar’s Kobolat Masrooka (stolen kisses). I have two films coming out soon; they’re currently showing in a movie festival in Abu Dhabi, one’s Heliopolis, the other is Bel Alwan Al Tabeeia (with the natural colors). I also did a TV series last Ramadan called Khas Geedan (Very Private).”

 El Lozy also wrote three plays, a trilogy, called We that are Young, the first play of the trilogy was produced in New York in 2002.

“Dr. El Lozy is a lot of fun to be around,” props master Marwan Kandeel said. “I’m having a blast with him, we all are. He’s a great person and an excellent director.”

There are 16 cast members, two of which are alumni, Alaa shalabi, and Waleed Hamad. The rest of the cast are theatre major students, and students from other departments as well. There are no faculty members involved in the cast. Rehearsals take place twice weekly.

“The actors are very lively and very friendly,” added kandeel. “They absorb you into their little world. It’s the first time for me to act and I’m really enjoying it.

The production team of El Liss consists of technical director David Wlodarski, set and light designer Stancil Campbell,  costume designer undergraduate Nermine Said, and props master undergraduate Marwan Kandeel.

According to kandeel, “El Lozy has a very interesting design for the set, the props, and the costumes, that’s all I’m giving away”

“The props are a lot of work, to find them, to get them, to make them work,” said Kandeel, “I might have to build stuff with my own hands.”

“It’s crazy, it’s tiring, but it’s a hell lot of fun,” concluded Kandeel.

“I’m doing a project with a certain group of students who are interested in doing it,” said El Lozy. “And I hope they learn something. I enjoy working on the play, and that all that matters to me.”

-By Nouran Khalil

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