Al-Ahram Weekly On-line
5 - 11 April 2001
Issue No.528
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875 Current issue | Previous issue | Site map

Sosostris

Pack of Cards

By Madame Sosostris


* What an event, my dears, was the grand opening celebration of the Four Seasons hotel at the First Residence -- a page, or even a complete chapter, out of the Thousand and One Nights. Receiving the distinguished guests (and distinguished they were, I can assure you) were Hamza El-Kholi, chairman of First Arabian Hotels and Resorts, and vice-chairman Ibrahim Kamel as well as Isadore Sharpe, founder and chairman of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. After Prime Minister Atef Ebeid cut the traditional ribbon the guests were invited to step into dreamland, a world of perfection created for the occasion by the general manager of the hotel, John O'Sullivan, and Cesare Rouchdi, director of marketing. Even the flower arrangements had been touched by a magic wand. As the guests, having enjoyed the extravagaza to the full, headed for the door, the ladies were handed a gift from none other than Tiffany. Wouldn't you have liked to be there!

* Tomorrow the 27th Egyptian Film Association Festival will honour four shining stars in the history of the Egyptian cinema: actress Zahrat El-Ola, veteran actor Omar El-Hariri, 90-year-old director Mohamed Abdel-Gawwad and the former chairman of the Studios Company board, Saad Abdel-Rahman. The ceremony will take place at Al-Nile Hall where Asrar Al-Banat (Girls' Secrets), by director Magdi Ahmed Ali, will be screened and prizes will be distributed to the winners. Thirty-one movies competed for the festival prizes but only five were chosen: Ard Al-Khawf, Gannat Al-Shiyatin, Al-Madina, Film Thaqafi and Kursi fil-Klob.

Association head Mahmoud Abdel-Sami' said the jury comprised a galaxy of cinema experts and critics such as directors Hani Lashin, Ali El-Ghazouli and Magdi Ahmed Ali and critics Rafiq El-Sabban and Tareq El-Shinnawi.


* At the recently refurbished Gumhouriya Theatre, inaugurated by Mrs Suzanne Mubarak and Culture Minister Farouk Hosni, the Cervantes Institute (Spanish Cultural Centre in Cairo) and Cairo Opera House will present a concert by the Spanish pianist David Gómez.

Gómez will reinterpret compositions by Piazzolla, Granados, Rodrigo and Chopin. I hear, my dears, that this pianist is terribly gifted, and that it would be a real shame to miss his performance.


* And if music be the food of love, why not go to the theatre? The American University in Cairo is holding its fourth annual "Famous for 15 Minutes" New Plays Festival from 8 to 11 April at Howard Theatre. The first three days will be devoted to the readings of several plays written by the AUC's gifted students and staff. These include among others Red Tape by Richard Hoath, Silence by Nancy Abdel-Messih, A Suitable Heart by Madeleine Stein, The Sugar House by Gretchen McCullough, The Beginning of the End by Seif Kamel, The Horse by Colin Cramer and Ya Leila Al-Eid by Hala El-Qoussi. After the performances, awards for the winning plays will be given by author and editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram Hebdo Mohamed Salmawy at Oriental Hall. Lina Abyad Nassar, the guest artist at this year's festival, teaches at the Lebanese American University, Haigazian University and the American University in Beirut. Nassar, a professional director, actress and educator, studied acting and directing at the International Theatre of French Language in Paris. She will hold a two-day workshop using the students' plays in this year's festival as examples.

* My dear friend soloist soprano Nabila Erian will be giving a recital on Sunday 8 April at the Opera's main hall on the occasion of Easter with the St Mark Church Choir, conducted by George Latif with the participation of the Children's Choir. This will be a delightful opportunity for you to hear Erian's angelic voice and listen to the little cherubs trained by Rafiq Nabil. Maya Kvineria will play the harpsichord, Hanaa Tanios the flute, Christian Shafiq the violin and Peter Boshra the cello. You will hear works by Handel, Bach, Mozart, Gounot, Nagui Zamar and Hosam Adib.

* And if music be the food of love, why not go to the theatre? The American University in Cairo is holding its fourth annual "Famous for 15 Minutes" New Plays Festival from 8 to 11 April at Howard Theatre. The first three days will be devoted to the readings of several plays written by the AUC's gifted students and staff. These include among others Red Tape by Richard Hoath, Silence by Nancy Abdel-Messih, A Suitable Heart by Madeleine Stein, The Sugar House by Gretchen McCullough, The Beginning of the End by Seif Kamel, The Horse by Colin Cramer and Ya Leila Al-Eid by Hala El-Qoussi. After the performances, awards for the winning plays will be given by author and editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram Hebdo Mohamed Salmawy at Oriental Hall. Lina Abyad Nassar, the guest artist at this year's festival, teaches at the Lebanese American University, Haigazian University and the American University in Beirut. Nassar, a professional director, actress and educator, studied acting and directing at the International Theatre of French Language in Paris. She will hold a two-day workshop using the students' plays in this year's festival as examples.

* If you are feeling properly uplifted by all these beneficial activities, there is more: an African Charity Bazaar will be held on 6 April from 10am to 4pm at the Nile Hilton Hotel. Over 20 countries will display their food and products. The organisers, the Ambassadors' Wives Association, will donate the proceeds of the event to various charities. This year, the Bazaar will be inaugurated by Minister of Social Affairs Amina El-Guindy; Nuriya Mohamed, president of the AWA, will receive the guests. This year's fund-raising efforts are geared towards helping the neonatal unit at Qasr Al-Aini Hospital, Ebnaty Care Society and Bulaq Group, among others. There will be five airline tickets, various presents from African embassies and a plethora of offers from five-star hotels as prizes for the lucky winners of the tombola.

* With all these activities going on, it is easy to forget that some of us have little inclination to think of anything but love. Recently I attended a lovely engagement party at the Sonesta Hotel: the enchanting Dina, daughter of my very dear friend Effat Fawzi, public accountant and hotel consultant, and his charming wife Mona, said "I will" to handsome former AUCian Sameh Naguib. Dina is a senior in the department of accounting and Sameh is a financial analyst at Al-Ahram Beverage company.

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