Egyptian actress Elham Chahin. Image Credit: Online photo

Cairo: An Egyptian lawmaker has presented a query to the government after famous Egyptian actress Elham Chahin unveiled a plan to perform French writer Jean-Paul Sartre’s play “Respectful Prostitute”.

The play was staged in Egypt in the 1960s starring iconic Egyptian actress Samiha Ayoub. Earlier this week, Chahin said she had discussed with Samiha the possibility of re-staging the play at the state-run National Theatre with Samiha being the director of the drama.

MP Ayman Mahseb said that the play does not suit Egyptian society and could be deemed pornographic, according to local media. ”The name of the work and its content are inappropriate,” he added. “That the drama is penned by a prominent writer does not mean it suits Egyptian society’s culture,” Mahseb was quoted as saying.

In his query, the lawmaker requests the culture minister or a representative to show up at the legislature to answer questions about the planned show. Commenting on the legislator’s reaction, Chahin contended that the play does not have any lewd vocabulary or scenes. “The text addresses racism. Egyptian society that he [the lawmaker] speaks about did not object to the play when it was previously presented on the state theatre,” she said. “The play has been a landmark in the career of great artist Samiha Ayoub,” Chahin told Egyptian newspaper Al Masry Al Youm.

She downplayed the furore, saying that no actual step has been taken to re-stage the drama. “There are no rehearsals. It’s a mere proposal and an idea.”

Written by Sartre in 1946, the anti-racism play is believed to have been inspired by an infamous incident that happened in the US in the early 1930s.