There is a moment around halfway into Ahmed El Attar’s The Last Supper that the audience stops trying to follow the subtitles that struggle to keep up with the cast’s overlapping conversations about used cars, political connections and the rudeness of Parisians, and instead leans back to watch the corners of the stage, where Egypt’s social dislocations play out in small, subtle tableaux.
“I specifically wrote a lot of text, because I feel a lot of text kills the text. At one point, you realise that it’s not important. [The characters] are not saying anything,” El Attar says, wreathed in the smoke from a cigar that he waves and jabs to emphasise his points.
Set at an upscale dinner party being held against the distant backdrop of the Egyptian state’s disintegration, the play satirises the vanity and hypocrisy of Egypt’s moneyed class, who decried the instability and disruption of the Arab Spring, but refused to acknowledge their own role in creating the conditions that led to it.