CAIRO - 24 August 2017: ‘Pangaea’, the play based on ‘Animal Farm’, was staged at AUC Falaki theatre on Tuesday and Wednesday. The play was performed by the theatre team of the Faculty of Engineering, Ain Shams University that began to present plays in 2013 while they were still studying and continued acting after their graduation.
They have participated in several festivals such as the National Festival of Egyptian Theatre and Constantine Festival in Algeria.
They usually present popular novels, international and Arab plays as well as plays written by the team. “We will soon present Maxim Gorky’s play ‘Lower Depths’ which we performed before,” said the Director of the Team Amr Afifi to Egypt Today.
‘Animal Farm’ is an allegorical novella written by George Orwell in 1945. It focuses on the suffering of some animals living in the Manor Farm due to hunger as their master, Mr. Jones, overworks them for a little amount of food. The Old Major, an old wise pig, gathers them after Mr. Jones sleeps, and tells them of the dream he has had in which all animals live together without human beings; urging them to bring the dream alive.
Caption 1: Old Major tells the animal about his dream-Photo by Egypt Today
Old Major dies three days after the incident, leaving the three younger pigs; Snowball, Napoleon and Squealer, to draw on their intelligence in order to formulate the Old Major’s principles, called Animalism. The animals manage to defeat Mr. John and drive him out of the land. However, after the rebellion led by Napoleon, they take over the farm and act like human beings. In the last scene, the pigs invite humans to a party where animals can no longer tell between pigs and human beings.
Caption 3: Napoleon oppresses the animals- Photo by Egypt Today
“Although Orwell’s novel mainly reflected the Russian revolution, the theme of the play is that corruption becomes more rampant and intense than before, and that human beings’ behavior worsens. The pigs treat all animals equally at first; then, they become dictators,” stated Afifi adding, “that’s why the most important scene in the play is last one where humans behave like animals when they oppress others.”
Consequently, the play was named ‘Pangaea’ referring to the sole supercontinent that existed about 300 million years ago, which was called Pangaea, where no corruption could be found. As human beings spread, deceit and unrighteousness followed.
The theatre team has changed the drama line of some characters such as Clover, a female horse, and Moses, the raven. Clover in the novel senses the hypocrisy happening in the farm, but she could not speak up against it and kept silent instead. On the other hand, in the play, she opposes Boxer, her companion, and Napoleon due to their behavior and leaves the farm when she finds that things are only getting worse.
At the same time, Moses’ name was replaced by Rafi, who tells the animals about the myth of the sugarcane mountain in the novel and flies off after Mr. Jones when the animals gain control over the farm. But, his role in the play was bigger, since he did not leave the farm and was portrayed as more cunning; he manages to pit all the animals against each other and incites Napoleon to take power and establish a dictatorship.
Captio 2: Moses stirring up trouble among animals- Photo by Egypt Today
“The theatrical scene in Egypt is not as good as it should be because is somehow neglected and there are lots of talented youth, but they are not in the limelight,” concluded Afifi.