Written back in 2015 as a response to the political situation in Egypt, ‘You bury me,’ written by Ahlam reveals the truth about the city of Cairo in a way that is fresh and exciting. Ahlam won the Women’s Prize for Playwriting in 2020 for ‘You bury me,’ and having seen the play you can easily understand the reason for its success . It’s hard hitting and doesn’t shy away from approaching difficult topics and yet its writing allows for some truly humorous moments despite the seriousness of the setting.


‘You bury me,’ centres around six young Egyptians and follows them as they experience life in Egypt where love and opinions can be dangerous. Osman speaks freely through his journalism, Rafik is gay, and Tamer and Alia come from different religions so their romance must be kept a secret – in one way or another their typical teenage behaviours put them at risk and at any moment we know they could be arrested or ‘disappeared’. This tension builds throughout the play and various dialogues highlight the frustration as well as fear that they live and struggle in. 


The title ‘You bury me,’ is based on the saying from Levantine Arabic ‘May you bury me,’ meaning that one wants to die before their loved one does so they don't ever have to live without them. As the teenage characters continue to discover their own love stories throughout the play, we realise how dangerous love can be for anyone that doesn’t fit into the traditional mould. The sexual revolution of the new generation is as moving as it is inspiring. 


The staging at the Orange Tree Theatre is in the round and the relatively small audience means that the actors can connect with the audience in a more intimate setting. This explosive and exciting play, directed by Katie Posner, is not only political but also personal and thus is able to have a deeper impact on the audience. 


‘You bury me,’ is a well written ode to the exiting city of Cairo and the people who shape it.