Adrift

By (author): Marcus Youssef

A group of almost-over-the-hill urban Egyptian hipsters gathers every night on a Cairo houseboat where they smoke weed, gab on their cell phones, and rag on everything they think is messing up their lives. Led by their master of ceremonies, a near catatonic petty bureaucrat named Anis, they get baked and try to forget that secularists like them are being shunted to the sidelines in the wave of alleged “fundamentalist” Islamic politics sweeping Egypt and much of the Arab world.

When Samara, a young Islamic journalist joins the group, however, Anis’s spell is broken. From the moment he sees this hijab-clad woman, he starts to remember the ugly journey that brought him to his almost total detachment from the harsh realities of the outside world. Threatened by this incursion into their long-established sanctuary, his buddies try to drive Samara away. But Anis resists. He has fallen in love. Unfortunately for him, however, this seemingly devout journalist also has a couple of secrets of her own.

While Adrift begins as a stoners’ drawing-room comedy, it ends in random, chaotic tragedy—by the end of the play the Nile River houseboat feels like it’s been transplanted to flood-ravaged New Orleans. It is a play about the tragedy of the innocents caught between the Holy Wars of our twenty-first century.

Inspired by the novel Adrift on the Nile by Egyptian Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, Adrift is set against the backdrop of the US war on Iraq and a region burdened by the gorgon-head legacies of colonialism, corruption and violent dictatorship. It is about a group of people at the epicentre of conflict between the West’s ever-accelerating and utterly ahistorical imperial culture, and its doppelgänger: the tide of religious fundamentalism that is growing ever more powerful in its wake.

Cast of 4 women and 6 men.

AUTHOR

Marcus Youssef

Marcus Youssef is based on unceded Coast Salish Territory, a.k.a. Vancouver, Canada. His fifteen or so plays have been produced in multiple languages in scores of theatres in twenty countries across North America, Europe, and Asia, from Seattle to New York to Reykjavik, London, Venice, Hong Kong, Vienna, Athens, Frankfurt, and Berlin. In 2017, Marcus received Canada’s most prestigious theatre award, the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, for his body of work as a playwright. He is also the recipient of Berlin’s Ikarus Theatre Prize, the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award, the Rio Tinto Alcan Performing Arts Award, the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award, the Seattle Times Footlight Award, the Vancouver Critics’ Innovation Award (three times), and the Canada Council Staunch-Lynton Award. Marcus co-founded the East Vancouver artist-run production hub Progress Lab 1422 and was the inaugural chair of the City of Vancouver’s Arts and Culture Policy Council. Talon has published his Adrift, Adventures of Ali & Ali and the aXes of Evil, Ali and Ali, Jabber, King Arthur’s Night and Peter Panties, and Winners and Losers. He is currently International Artistic Associate at Farnham Maltings in the UK, Playwright in Residence at Tarragon Theatre, and Artistic Associate at Neworld Theatre in Vancouver. Marcus also sits on SCALE, a national arts roundtable formed in partnership with the Climate Emergency Unit of the David Suzuki Foundation, inspired by Seth Klein’s remarkable book, A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency.

Reviews

“…A minor miracle not merely of adaptation but of historical translation too. Adrift highlights the way we suffer the same losses over and over again, raining revenge on revenge. Our struggle, in essence, never changes.”
Globe and Mail


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Excerpts & Samples ×

A group of almost-over-the-hill urban Egyptian hipsters gathers every night on a Cairo houseboat where they smoke weed, gab on their cell phones, and rag on everything they think is messing up their lives. Led by their master of ceremonies, a near catatonic petty bureaucrat named Anis, they get baked and try to forget that secularists like them are being shunted to the sidelines in the wave of alleged “fundamentalist” Islamic politics sweeping Egypt and much of the Arab world.

When Samara, a young Islamic journalist joins the group, however, Anis’s spell is broken. From the moment he sees this hijab-clad woman, he starts to remember the ugly journey that brought him to his almost total detachment from the harsh realities of the outside world. Threatened by this incursion into their long-established sanctuary, his buddies try to drive Samara away. But Anis resists. He has fallen in love. Unfortunately for him, however, this seemingly devout journalist also has a couple of secrets of her own.

While Adrift begins as a stoners’ drawing-room comedy, it ends in random, chaotic tragedy—by the end of the play the Nile River houseboat feels like it’s been transplanted to flood-ravaged New Orleans. It is a play about the tragedy of the innocents caught between the Holy Wars of our twenty-first century.

Inspired by the novel Adrift on the Nile by Egyptian Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, Adrift is set against the backdrop of the US war on Iraq and a region burdened by the gorgon-head legacies of colonialism, corruption and violent dictatorship. It is about a group of people at the epicentre of conflict between the West’s ever-accelerating and utterly ahistorical imperial culture, and its doppelgänger: the tide of religious fundamentalism that is growing ever more powerful in its wake.

Cast of 4 women and 6 men.

Reader Reviews

Details

Dimensions:

128 Pages
9in * 229mm * 6in * 152mm * 0.3125in8mm
191gr
6.75oz

Published:

May 15, 2008

City of Publication:

Vancouver

Country of Publication:

CA

Publisher:

Talonbooks

ISBN:

9780889225855

9780889227835 – EPUB

9780889229334 – EPUB

9781772014310 – EPUB

9780889229518 – EPUB

Book Subjects:

DRAMA / Canadian

Featured In:

All Books

Language:

eng

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