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Flora Lynn IsaacsonGo See

Hotter Than Egypt at MTC

Marin Theater Company

Presentation of 
Hotter Than Egypt
World Premiere Co-Production
By Yousef El Guindi

 

Pandemic or not, the show must go on. This play continues through April 24, 2022.  MTC audiences are being treated to a very moving production, beautiful set design, and excellent performances.  Over all, as Directed by John Langs with Dramaturgy by Nakisa Etamad, this is theater at its best!

The cast includes: Jen Taylor (as wife Jean); Paul Morgan Stetler (as husband Paul); Wasim No‘mani (Seif); Naseem Etamad (Maha); and Ahmed Kamal (Boatman; Museum Guard; and Doorman)

The broken English dialogue was pleasantly spoken and easily understood. This production was absolutely engrossing. That said, inasmuch as nothing being said in Egyptian can be understood by the English-speaking audience, there should be a teleprompter/screen visible to the side or above the stage translating to English what is being said in Egyptian. Also, the particular music written for this play by Composer Nihan Yesil is a distraction (even to the ears of a music major).

The set and lighting were so well designed we could imagine the Egyptian hotel-setting on the Nile River.  Setting the tone for the character action, we see that the maitre d’hotel and female maid at this particular hotel, obviously, have a thing between them.

Another couple who is on their 24th anniversary vacation at the hotel is having marital issues/problems. After a not-so-loving discussion about “personal freedoms,” they give each other a good-night-kiss. The wife then simply shuts down…and the husband is simply not attracted to her. Instead of sleeping (or anything else), they then discuss divorce, during which he confesses to seeing a younger woman and tells his wife he’s leaving her for the younger woman. The wife is shocked.

The next day (as depicted by a wonderful staging of the head of the Great Sphinx of Giza), the tour guide and tourist wife are sitting with the Egyptian police because the guide is accused of “protesting.”

After a smooth set change, the wife is being quite flirtatious with the tour guide admitting that she’s concerned about zero contact with other people.  She complains about her “ungrateful kids” and her “small, wasted life.” We understand that the wife wants to leave her husband for a man she doesn’t know. She’s trying to encourage him to make love to her; however, he’s gracious but clearly not interested. They then have a very moving break-up.

Under an excellent starry sky, the husband comes back to the girlfriend and expresses a “moment of madness to appreciate what we have…I don’t remember being held in a way that made me feel anything.”  The girlfriend, however, wants to elope…and the story continues.

The staging of Pharaoh’s head was wonderful, and stage management during the set change was excellent. Most of the costuming was beautiful.

Stage Management by Michael Suenkel was excellent, as was the Scene Design by Carey Wong.

Dialect Coach Lynne Soffer
Costumes by Melanie Burgess
Fight Coordinator and Intimacy Director Ian Bond
Sound Design by Johanna Melamed
Lighting Designed and Operated by Jeff Rowlings

Performances of Hotter than Egypt continue through Friday and Saturday April 22-24, 2022, at Marin Theatre Company, located at 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley CA 94941. www.marintheatre.org  Telephone for tickets:  415/388-5200

Coming up next:  The Sound Inside by Adam Rapp from May 26 to June 19, 2022

Critique by
Elle Alexa Simon
Student of Flora Lynn Isaacson, SFBA Critic