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“Al-Mishwar al-‘Akhir”: Domestic Abuse and Internalized Misogyny Stare Us in the Face

December 13, 2020
Lina Sakr as Reda in Al Mishwar Al Akhir.

“Only my husband, father, and brother are allowed to hit me,” those were some of the first words of Reda, played by Lina Sakr, a theatre student at The American University in Cairo, in her live-streamed one-woman show of Alfred Farag’s Al-Mishwar al-‘Akhir (The Last Walk). Farag’s second-to-last play, written and performed in Arabic is, as Theatre scholar Dina Amin writes, “concerned with the plight of a battered woman from the struggling classes of Egypt.” Directed by Reem Amer, the play addresses issues of domestic violence, physical abuse, illiteracy, and poverty. Single-handedly led by Sakr, the emotionally-charged monologue tackles domestic abuse in Egypt when the character is seen tied up by her abusive husband. However, the most eerie aspect to her situation is her continued devotion to her husband, who she constantly refers to as Habibi (my dear), despite him leaving her and taking her kids after tying her up. The simple yet strategically vivid set, designed by Amira Fahmy, leaves room for the imagination for the viewer, with Reda sitting in a dark room, tied up, with enough spotlight to barely light her up. To her right and left…

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