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First Saudi woman to participate in a theatrical play

The actress played the role of the evil character Yzma. (Supplied)

Saudi Arabia’s first female actress to play a role alongside other men took center stage on Friday in “The Empror’s New Groove” public play in the kingdom.

The actress, Najat Mouftah, expressed her feelings regarding this experience.

Mouftah said: “I am happy to be the first actress to do this. However, I am not sure if there was an actress who preceded me, and was more happy to practise my hobby and talent on stage in a public show”, she said in an interview with Al Arabiya.net.

“I had previous experiences in doing simple ‘sketches’ on YouTube and Instagram, but I have never been on stage; this is my first time.”

A coincidence

Explaining the story leading to her participating in “The Emperor’s New Groove” play, Najat said that it happened by chance after she received a message from her friend telling her that there are auditions in the “Red Curtains” group.

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As such, she decided to attend and try out for the auditions. Indeed, Mouftah earned a spot in the play and was selected by the committee nearly a month ago.

The young actress, who is currently studying Information Technology, explained that she was chosen to take on the role of the evil character Yzma. Her role involved three weeks of rehearsals.

Mother’s fears

She also pointed out that her mother was afraid that she would choose to be an actress. However, such fears were eliminated once she saw her daughter’s performance and was convinced that she was talented.

“After my first scene, my mother was surprised by my performance as she did not believe that I would have the courage. She thought that I can only perform at home and make them laugh,” said Mouftah.

Najat Mouftah on stage playing The Empror’s New Groove character Yzma. (Supplied)

Looking at future plans, Mouftah said that she sees herself on stage because she receives the reactions from the audience directly.

Initial worries

According to Mouftah, she was optimistic and confident for her first show in Riyadh. At the time, she said: “Tonight (Friday), I must succeed in the theater show hosted by the theaters of Dar al-Ulum College in Riyadh, as I have been waiting for this moment for a long time.”

Although she was worried, she believed that this was normal. “The team gave me a lot of support. It is impossible to perform something that would not satisfy them or myself, she added.

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Abdelkhaliq bin Rafa, head of the artistic department in the “Red Curtains” group, said that the “The Emperor’s New Groove” play is one of “Walt Disney” myths which was originally a film. He also said that the stage version has undergone modifications to make it suitable for families and also had Saudi elements added to it.

He explained that the play was showcased four times in Jeddah in 2017. But what makes this rendition different and new is the introduction of a female actress as former versions were all performed by a male actor, he added.

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Last Update: Saturday, 10 February 2018 KSA 16:59 - GMT 13:59
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