Radio Drama

The Start of Radio Drama in Egypt

~~The radio drama that we know today did not exist in Egypt or the Middle East before Youssef Ezeddin Eassa. The radio invention was first introduced to Egypt in 1934. In other parts of the Middle East, countries were still not ready for such modern technology. Moreover, in some Arab countries it was rejected and considered as some kind of an anti-religious invention. The fact that the radio was a speaking object, was compared to the atheist worshiping of stones in the past and was thus considered in some parts of the Middle East to be against religion. On the other hand, Egypt, a cosmopolitan country back then, was the most enlightened country in the Middle East. It already had a prestigious university launched in 1908, and even one of the greatest movie making industries which started in 1927, together with a selection of civilized and liberal minds moving with their country towards modernity. Egypt was also occupied by Britain and the Radio Station was established there by the British Government. The Radio Corporation was run by the British at that time, and radio announcers were carefully selected Egyptians of high intellectual backgrounds. There were programs, songs and music, the news of course and some amateurish attempts of drama beginning in the field. The radio authorities were always looking for good writers in order to establish Egyptian radio drama of fine quality, but actually the Egyptian writers back then shrunk from writing for that field, preferring to take no risks with such a modern “toy” and preferred the old fashioned and conventional forms of writings; books, plays or magazine instalments. They were unable to see any connection between a modern work of technology and the writing of fiction.



Eassa’s Contribution to Radio Drama

Serious radio drama only started with Youssef Ezeddin Eassa when his play ‘The Wheel of Days’ was broadcast in 1940. He is considered a pioneer and a modernist for his courage to break old-fashioned concepts; spotting a connection between modern technology and writing, and for generously giving his talent to radio drama, enriching it with almost 400 pieces which were regarded by critics to be literary masterpieces.

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