On Thursday evening, Sawy Cultural Wheel in Zamalek will host the play “Omar Al Khayyam” based on the life and times of famed eleventh century Persian scholar and Poet, Omar Al Khayyam. A production of the Kuwaiti youth empowerment group, LoYac, the play is a musical with lush costuming and elaborate set design.
Loyac began in 2002 with the intention to provide youth with new opportunities and to engender a respect for the arts. “We have a lot of very spoiled and privileged youth here in Kuwait,” Nadia Al Saqqaf, a spokesperson for the group, told Daily News Egypt. “We wanted to get them to work, and not just sit around during their summers. We encouraged them to volunteer their time and we stressed arts and culture.”
Indeed, the work of Loyac seems much less like what is typically conjured under the auspices of “youth empowerment” and more like a seasoned and outfitted touring theatre company. Performed by a group of amateur actors, the work is undoubtedly of professional quality, abundant with stunning visuals. The musical performance has been choreographed by Lebanese dance troupe, Caracalla, a group comparable to Egypt’s famed Reda troupe, dedicated to preserving and advancing folkloric dance through a merger of Western and Oriental technique.
Egyptian singer Mostafa Said joins the play for the Cairo performances. “We are very honored by his presence,” said an excited Al Saqqaf of Said’s musical contribution. Said, a blind musician, has organized the Rubaiyat, a collection of poems attributed to Khayyam to music and traditional instrumentation.
Loyac has chosen this particular historical figure as they believe this timeless works directly address the reality of present Middle-East. Khayyam was exceptional in his expertise of distinct and far-reaching disciplines; mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, physics and of course, poetry. Loyac presents the work of the Islamic artist and scholar in an attempt to address what they feel is a false enmity between science and religion through the work of a man who beautifully melded and excelled at both.
“Omar Al Khayyam” will be presented at Sawy Cultural Wheel’s Wisdom Hall on Thursday and Friday January 27 and 28, at 8 pm.