Mohamad Ramadan in A PRESIDENT OF HIS OWN REPUBLIC, prepared and directed by Sameh Bassiouny.
Volume 1

A New Perspective on Mikhail Ruman’s Smoke in A President of His Own Republic

A New Perspective on Mikhail Ruman’s
Smoke in A President of His Own Republic
by Anwaar Abdelkhalik Abdalla
 Arab StagesVolume 1, Number 1 (Fall 2014)
 ©2014 by Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Publications

Mikhail Ruman (1927–1973) is believed to be one of the most controversial dramatists in the modern Egyptian theatre. Critical evaluation has always been polarized towards his first published play Smoke. Some skeptics loved his work, whilst conservative critics called for his prosecution as they thought he had violated the dreams of the revolution. The body of his work comprises eleven published plays, which provide a moving and eloquent account of his major theme, namely; the freedom of the individual. Ruman denied that he wrote political drama, claiming that his primary pre-occupation was the freedom of the individual from all constraints, as he felt the deep greatness of the human being. However, his last play (The Night They Killed the Great Guevara, 1967) proves otherwise. Some Marxist critics even accused Roman of advocating nihilism and unbridled-anti social and irresponsible behavior.[1]

Ruman’s play titled Smoke (Al Dukhan, 1962) was widely condemned for dealing with a taboo subject, drug addiction. It is a full length play which is regarded as representing the drama following the 1952 revolution led by Gamal Abdel Nasser. Post-1952 dramas often attacked the oppressive practices of a political system that degrades human existence to its lowest level.

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