Saturday 31 March 2012

Saudi “religious police” wows theater actresses

The comedy's producer, playwright and actresses face the camera

You wouldn’t have guessed – not in a million years.
Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPVPV), or “religious police,” has won the hearts of non-other than an all-female theater cast.
The troupe of five female actresses – Sarah el-Jaber, Revan Kenaan, Manal Issa, Lauren Issa and Samar Faraj -- has just finished performing three nights at a Saudi women’s theater in the oasis city of Ha’il.
The three performances of the female comedy “Shakhtak Shakhtouk” – two meaningless voodoo words -- were part of weeklong heritage, folklore, music and culture and arts activities highlighting the annual Ha’il Rally.
The Saudi daily al-Watan quotes producer Rania Zaki as saying she “fantasized” the words “Shakhtak Shakhtouk” for the comedy by playwright Amal Hussein.  The reason is the comical recourse of women in many Arab societies to witchcrafts, sorcerers and fortunetellers to supposedly address marital, spinsterhood, infertility, pregnancy, envy and evil eye concerns.
Iraqi Kurdish actress Lauren Issa tells al-Watan the cast found CPVPV staff “kind,” “very courteous and polite” and “extremely helpful -- which isn’t what we expected or what we had been made to believe.”