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Volume :16 Issue : 63 1990      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

HAMAD AL-RAJEEB’S THEATRE OFMORAL INSTRUCTION

Auther : Ibrahim Abdullah Ghuloom

 

         This study attempts to define the concept of the theatre of moral instruction as that type of drama wherein ideas and their manifestations, both in life and ethics play a vital role.  The dramatic context of this kind of drama consists of morally-motivated events in a world governed by eternal conflict between good and evil.  Hence, the emergence of this type of drama in the relatively later phase of human history characterized by unequal conflict between a dominant, central system and the limited experience of the movement of liberation of social forces, something which exactly fits our model of the theatre of moral instruction as represented by the Kuwaiti author Hamad Al-Rajeeb in the nineteen-forties and fifties.  For this playwright descends from a social stratum which espousing neither a pure Islamic ideology nor a nationalistic one, devoted its energies to reality concentrating especially on the moral dimensions of the social problem.  This social stratum, having to find in the Gulf society justice, equality and other moral values which are believed society needed, found the courage to criticize it, using didacticism, moral philosophy and the medium of drama for the purpose of criticism and reform.

         This study considers the dramatic career of Hamad Al-Rajeeb as an important and pioneering model which supports our concept of the theatre of moral instruction.  It also attempts to prove that the theatre of moral instruction constitutes a more advanced form of the theatre of historical instruction of the poets, Ibrahim Al-Arrayed and Abdul-Rahman al-Ma’awda from which it evolved.  This assumption is based on two considerations.  First, the theatre of moral instruction advocated ideas regardless of whether they were romantic or idealistic.  Second, the theatre of moral instruction directed its attention to actuality as Hamad Al-Rajeeb did when he formed his dramatic world form the material of actual contemporary life in contrast to these two poets whose literary would consist of purely historical material.

         The study, moreover, covers all aspects of the artistic development of Hamad Al-Rajeeb in a number of his plays, namely: “Who Is the Criminal” (1947) and “A Lamb Baa! Baa!” (three acts, 1949) and “A Farce in Farce (1948)”.  The study concludes that Al-Rajeeb’s theoretical clarity and his practical involvement with the theatre, especially his perception of the moral function of the theatre have sharpened his dramatic vision.  Hence his ability to use an easy-to-understand Arabic and to chose fittingly dramatic situations to deliver his didactic message.  Al Rajeeb’s ideas thus reflect those of the bourgeoisie in assuming that social change begins with altering the moral outlook and behavior of individuals.  This was true in the sphere of the family as in “Who Is the Criminal?” and in the arena of social strife as in “A Lamb Baa! Baa!” and at the level of major national issues as in “A Farce in Farce.”

          This study, looking at the artistic achievement of Al-Rajeeb’s work, concludes that his theatre represents the beginning of the realistic tradition in the Arab Gulf region.  He was able, unlike those who preceded him to utilize the incongruity between the moral ideal and real-life practices to create effective dramas.  He also successfully handled the comic plot, made use of symbolism and effectively used the material of everyday life and moral philosophy to enhance the satirical force of his plays.

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Dec 26, 2021

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