“This transcendent story educates us about ancient Egypt as well as archeology and even theology. Music and dance intermixed with the story line help to recreate the authenticity of the old civilization, and so do the embellished costumes and coin-sewn sashes. Since modern day political situation makes it hard to travel to the Pyramids on a whim, you may want to skip the flight and listen to the story first hand. And meet a ruler of ancient Egypt in person.”
American Theatre of Actors
314 West 54th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues)
(Please note: the theatre is wheelchair accessible)
February 17th-March 6th
Thursday-Saturday at 8pm
Sunday at 3pm.
$18.00 for adults
$13.00 for students and seniors
212-868-4444 or at www.smarttix.com.
Members of the press are invited to all performances
Take the A, C or 1 train to 50th Street
or the A, C, B, D or 1 train to 59th Street
There will also be a special performance on Saturday, March 12th at 7:30pm at the New York Open Center, located at 22 East 30th Street, (between 5th & Madison Avenues). Tickets for this performance are $16.00 for members, $18.00 for non-members. Reservations: 212-219-2527, ext. 2 or www.opencenter.org.
Local play mirrors current events in Egypt.
With the Egyptian revolution at the forefront of our minds–as well as the story of the statue of Pharaoh Akhenaten, stolen from the Cairo Museum during the protests and miraculously recovered (see link above)–it is uncanny that there is currently a play running off-off Broadway about the life of Pharaoh Akhenaten, which mirrors current events in Egypt. Stolen from the Cairo Museum was the statue of a man at the heart of the first Egyptian revolution, three thousand years ago, when the revolutionary Pharaoh Akhenaton convulsed Egyptian society and was himself overthrown. As after the assassination of Anwar Sadat, a corrupt military-run elite government assumed control.
ANKHST, A Play About Pharaoh Akhnaton, by Clarinda Karpov, set in ancient Egypt and in the world of contemporary archeology, is running through March 6 at the American Theatre of Actors, 314 West 54th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 3; there will be a special performance at The New York Open Center, 22 East 30th Street, between 5th and Madison Avenues, on March 12 at 7:30 p.m.
As Akhnaton–husband of legendary beauty Nefertiti and father of King Tut–actor Anwar Uddin leads a multicultural ensemble cast in a colorful production that features Middle Eastern folk dance, work shanties from Karnak, and a setting of the visionary Pharaoh’s own Hymn to the Sun. In the play, passionate archeologist Dr. Alexander Philips, recovering from a breakdown, encounters the ka-spirit of Akhnaton in a squalid tomb. Can Alex, like Akhnaton, risk all to rise a phoenix from the ashes of her life?
“It was extraordinary, to read in the paper day by day, about events that echoed those we were rehearsing,” according to co-director William York Hyde. “In so many ways, this is a play for our time.” Composer Mark Nelson thinks “The recovery of Akhenaten’s statue on the day of our opening means to us that in our own way, we are ‘recovering’ Akhenaten and his story for the modern world, as well.”
Last Saturday’s performance was a fundraiser for the Amarna Project, the archeological team led by Dr. Barry Kemp, CBE, excavating and preserving Akhenaten’s city, Tell el-Amarna in middle Egypt. Dr. Marsha Hill, a curator of Egyptian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and an associate of the Amarna Project, spoke. Dr. Hill said that while other archeological missions left Egypt when the digs were shut down during the revolution, because Dr. Kemp has a base in Cairo, he has been able to remain, pending an expected return to work at Amarna.
Playwright/Producer, ANKHST, A Play About Pharaoh Akhnaton