I watched “One, de musical” theatre play and here are my two cents about it, as an Egyptian

To start with, It always amuses me how the western world is still kind of obsessed with Egyptian history. Unfortunately, the film, theatre, and entertainment industries have an extended track record for promoting misconceptions and stereotypes about ancient Egypt, usually connected to Hollywood fantasies, conspiracy theories, or biblical stories.

Yesterday, I was invited by a friend to attend the premiere of “One, De Musical” theatre play in Amsterdam, and I can simply add it to the list of disappointments, massive production along with frail historical ground and mediocre references about ancient Egypt.

I’m actually wondering, as Egypt has its very specialized Egyptology department in most of the leading world universities. So why do producers still lack this accuracy in the productions about Egypt? I think it’s a very mysterious condition to me, and it reflects lazy efforts of production to do the proper research about the context where their films, plays, or shows have taken place.

The play starts with the white explorer making discoveries in Egypt, which made the musical feel like a Hollywood cliché from the first 10 minutes. However, this wasn’t the main issue with the play, as the explorer character just disappeared after. And there were many significant misconceptions and mistakes within the rest of the play.

To start with, the main character in the theatre play was named “Amun”, literally after the name of Amun, the sun god, which Egyptians worshipped for thousands of years. Imagine calling your child “Jesus Christ” how awkward would that be?

95% of the clothes in the play have nothing to do with ancient Egyptian clothes. I think the designers got confused between ancient Egyptians and other nations, maybe. Not to mention, there was an actress that looked much like Harley Quinn from Marvel films to me. Plus, there was an actor who was wearing yellow-colored glasses during the play. To be honest, I hope the play producers have done that on purpose as a comedy touch for their work because it would be a historical disaster if they really thought that ancient Egyptians used to wear clothes like that. I’d recommend the play producers to visit the Egyptian clothes museum in the heart of Cairo. It shows several pieces of clothes discovered in tombs, which are beautiful pieces, and very accurate about the ancient Egyptian sense of fashion. Although that sense of style is more than 3000–4000 years old, it is still way more elegant than what I saw yesterday.

The king’s guards always came in bizarre costumes, first with Horus eye-face shields and another time with leopard masks and robes that look a bit East Asian!

Not a significant disappointment but still worth mentioning, Egyptians didn’t document their music. Still, from what they documented in the temples’ walls, we know that they used the Harp and flute in their music composition. I believe the play’s music was typical Hollywood musicals and not really related to Egypt or the story.

Also, the dance movements looked too contemporary for ancient Egypt, but that wasn’t a major disappointment as well.

Finally, I believe “One, De musical” is another production to add to the list of films, theatre plays, documentaries, and shows about Ancient Egypt that have nothing to do with Ancient Egypt.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store