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The Tyrant by Yussef El Guindi. Directed by Anita Montgomery. Photo: John Ulman/Sandbox One-Act Play Festival.
Articles, Essays, Volume 4

Yussef El Guindi’s Arab Spring: Revolutions, Upheavals, and Critical Critiques

Yussef El Guindi’s Arab Spring: Revolutions,
Upheavals, and Critical Critiques 
By Michael Malek Najjar 
Arab StagesVolume 2, Number 2 (Spring 2016) 
©2016 by Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Publications

Egyptian-American playwright Yussef El Guindi is arguably the most prolific and widely produced Arab American playwright working today. During and after the Arab Spring, El Guindi wrote three plays that dealt specifically with the uprisings in his native Egypt: The Tyrant, The Mummy and the Revolution, and the provocatively titled Threesome. Despite his contention that he did not specifically set out to write a trilogy of plays about this subject, his imagination and his desire to address the concerns and arguments surrounding the Arab Spring led to three plays that consider the events of 2011 from the perspective of both the dictators and the protesters. El Guindi’s triad explore the exigencies of Western-backed dictatorial regimes, the post-trauma suffered by the protesters who participated in the revolutions, and the painful disconnection exiles experience after leaving their homelands and desiring normalcy abroad. In all three plays American audiences are asked to evaluate their preconceived notions about U.S. foreign policy, the role of women in Arab society, and the Orientalization of Arabs in mainstream media and culture. El Guindi’s plays, although somewhat accepted by mainstream American theatres,[1] challenge many of the notions that surround American views regarding Middle East affairs.

In his book The Revolt of the Young: The Case of the Twenty-First Century, Tawfiq al-Hakim wrote,

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