There is no doubt that the Egyptian Folk legacy is the culture of the nation and the product of a long process of development that has extended over thousands of years.
Such legacy is deeply rooted in every human society, incorporating a great deal of wisdom in its highly diverse standards and patterns. No one can deny the influence of folklore in any society. One of the basic issues in folklore is Folk drama.
I remember the words of our thinker and professor Dr. Abdel Hamid Younis about the nature of drama, and that if drama relates to the event or the action in its ancient connotations, it is not only portraying the action, but it is rather the action itself.
Our teacher saw that the relationship of drama with the people is a relationship based on creativity on the one hand, and artistic taste on the other hand. Folk drama is derived from the depths of human history, because it either detected from a certain belief, ritual, or some sort of a will. Thus, Folk drama is a set of forms and dramatic contents that were portrayed by people to achieve a certain benefit or value, or to fulfill a social or psychological purposes.
The origin of the Folk drama is deeply rooted in ancient Egyptian civilization: its manifestations are found on the walls of ancient Egyptian temples.
Those who study drama skip the fact that the ancient Egyptian civilization is older than the Greek and Roman civilizations especially in the field of drama. I will state an example to prove that: the drama of Hor and Seth when the conflict intensified between the brothers Osiris and Seth on the throne of Egypt. Osiris was assassinated by his brother Seth. Osiris was brought again to life by Isis’ magic and he regained his throne in the afterlife. The conflict started again between hor and Seth about the throne of Egypt. They stood before Court of the Gods, which was presided over by God Ra.
Hor was assisted by his sister Isis’ magic and Ra’a’s aid. Everyone was afraid of Ra’a and They handed down their verdict on the side of the right, the King of Egypt to Hor.
I will mention another example of folk drama (the coronation of King Senowsret I) that shows that the folk drama is deeply rooted in the ancient Egyptian Civilization. After the death of “Amenhat I”, the father we found in the hieroglyph papyrus that the son (Senowsret I) should inherit his father’s throne. It is found on the walls of the temples how “Senowsret I” prepared the royal ship for the coronation. It is written in the papyrus how the gods aided the new heir.
The legend of Osiris and Isis was performed on the god Says and Abidos Festivals. The ancient Egyptian theatre had all the elements of the theatrical performance: the story, the setting and the place of the performance, as well as the texts and scenes.
Another example of folk drama is the Play of Osiris at the Temple of Abydos during the third millennium BC imitates the play Of The Pain of Christ. Besides there were other plays that were shown to the audience, in which actors are not religious men. There were other performances dating back to the eighteenth dynasty of one of the actors who spent three years playing drums. He also mentioned that if he acted as God, I would play the role of ruler, and if I were to die, I would be revived, which indicates the details of his theatrical tours.
As well as the text engraved on the cemetery of Seti I, where the dramatic texts and the pattern used in the writing of theatrical booklets are inscribed on the walls of the temple. This book included the names of the actors , the characters and their theatrical role , and then the dialogue which distinguishes the old Egyptian theatrical booklets.
From the Temple of Edfu, the play Horus’ triumph over the Seahorses is a great poetic play in which the verses are balanced t sung in an operatic way in the presence of chorus that participates in the development of the theatrical event which is interrupted by five musical pieces.
And from the tombs of Bani Hassan in Minya in the cemetery of Khnumhotep, which represents the game of the four winds. Four winds are a representative text of the denial confessions in chapter 125 of the “Book of dead”, as it showed how the deceased’s participation in the feasts of Osiris and his sacred representations.
Folk drama is still closely related to everyday and social life. There is no doubt that the masquerade dance is only the masses’ means to search for a psychological and social reality beyond their real life. They use masks or types of paint, to paint their faces and bodies and disguise to have a symbolic meaning within the context of ancient forms of folk drama.
We are inspired by our ancient folk literature such as Isis play or the play Shahrazad. Then we find Perm El Tonsy who derives from “Helaly Sera” some episodes to show the relationship between the Arabs of the Orient and the Arabs of West and also in Aziza and Younis. When we mention Folk drama, we see that it records its features from our ancient folklore. Folk drama is the conscience of the people themselves not for the sake of artistic pleasure, but for the sake of having a healthy, and sound life.
Art lives with human beings and with human beings and for them, and it not only produces unique and impressive products, but it also discovers new horizons in our feeling and intellectual perception. Thus, art enriches enriches human life and nobody thinks there’s an artist who works and produces for himself, but for the sake of others. For this reason, the presence of those who are aware and appreciate arts are of great importance for the presence of any work of art.