Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Lion King

Last night I went to the Modern English School of Cairo's production on The Lion King. Why? Because a friend of mine, Sylvia, was in it! Some of you may know her- she used to organize the Belly and African dance classes at Edin Uni for me- YEARS ago! Anyway- she is living and working in the school here now and is currently starring as Shenzi, the Hyena.

I have to say- having been schooled in Edinburgh, in non fee paying schools, and educated though the years of the teachers strikes…. Where the hours of classroom were strictly adhered too… the idea of a show such as this- which has a mixed cast of 150 students of all ages, and teachers- plus another 100 backstage!, all giving up their own free time to prepare it all and rehearse…is just amazing.

The venue was great too- a proper theatre with velvet curtains (or looked like it) and lighting and orchestra pit etc. Fantastic to have that in your own school! Oh- and the tickets were free…….. which I guess is as should be considering the hefty fees the students pay to attend the school! What else- fab costumes- all matching etc, made by mums and teachers. A full sized elephant (with a child in each of the legs) a massive warthog……. Fantastic artwork etc. Really very well done. The singing was good too- although I would have preferred if the mic's of the soloist were louder since the orchestra drowned them out a bit.

And Sylvia- a star of course…….. Considering she had to walk about using crutches as front legs, and had a huge papier-mâché head hanging down in front of her body, and remember her lines- act and SING as well -Tall order. I was impressed! Well done girl!

Re the school- all I saw was the entrance and the theatre- however what struck me as strange was that it is way out in the middle of the desert! I guess the land will be cheaper- less traffic and pollution, but still- strange that most of the teachers etc have to get to and from work in school buses!!!!! Although I had hitched a lift from a teacher (originally from dunfermilne) and she said when she taught there years before you could see the school from mile away all on its own in the middle of nowhere- but now there are houses built up around it!
The whole thing seemed quite American to me for some reason. The teachers are mainly British. The curriculum is British (although I believe that in secondary school you can choose between British and American system and curriculum. But of course- its for people who can pay…… so the Egyptians who do attend are coming from wealthy families and quite often go of to university abroad or to the American University of Cairo.
I am sorry but I don't have photos of the show- but I am sure they will put them onto their website once its done!

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