The Sea is Laughing
Amin Atallah in The Sea is Laughing
Amin Attalah in The Chief Clerk
Amin Atallah was born in 1880 in Alexandria to a Lebanese father. He received his education in a Jesuit school and later worked as an amateur in his brother’s, Selim Atallah’s, theatrical troupe.
Afterwards, he worked in El Amal newspaper in 1904. He then joined Eskandar Farah’s theatrical troupe and left it in 1905. He also published a magazine entitled El Magnoun but eventually chose acting in Sheikh Salama Hegazi’s troupe over journalism. He then joined a new group formed by his brother in Alexandria. He left for the Levant in 1912 with Sayed Darwish. In the summer of 1915, he joined Aziz Eid’s troupe in Cairo, then returned to Selim Atallah’s troupe in 1917.
In 1919, he formed with his brother a comic troupe that performed several plays in Alexandria. He also wrote plays, ones that tackled moral themes such as The Insane (El Magnoun), The Feelings of a Wife (‘Awâtif el zawgah) and Tears of the Desperate (Doumo’ el ba’sah).
The two brothers moved to Syria in 1920, owing to the pause of theatrical activity after the 1919 revolution, where he formed a musical acting troupe which successfully performed El Rehani’s plays. He returned to Egypt in 1924 with his wife the actress Ibreez Staty, and they both joined Youssef Wahbi’s troupe. However, at the beginning of 1925, he started a new troupe and moved to the Levant where he performed several plays including Charlemagne, The Feelings of a Wife (Âwatif al zawgah), Hassan the Good Boy (el Châtir Hasan), Her Excellency (Sâhibat el simow) and The New Baghdadi Nights (Layâli Baghdâd el gadidah). In 1935, he resumed his activity in Egypt and worked in a night club as an actor and a writer of comic sketches. In 1937, he joined Aziz Eid’s troupe and travelled to Syria and Lebanon.
As for the cinema, he played the main role in The Chief Clerk (El Bachkateb), which was directed by Mohamed Bayoumi. The film was an adaptation of the popular play by the same name. Part of this comedy was shot as a film and the rest was shot while it was performed on stage. Atallah played the role of a civil servant whose relationship with a dancer made him steal and he was, consequently, imprisoned. He also wrote, produced and acted inThe Sea is Laughing (El Bahr biyidhak), sometimes referred to as Why is the Sea Laughing (el Bahr biyidhak leih) in 1928, not to be confused with Why is the Sea Laughing (el Bahr biyidhak leih) written and directed by Dr. Mohamed Kamel el Qalyoubi in 1995 and starring the Alexandrian born actor Mahmoud Abdel Aziz.
He retired in the 50s and published his memoirs in El Kawakeb magazine in 1953 and 1954. He spent his last years in Cairo where he passed away.
1924: The Chief Clerk(El Bachkateb)
1928: The Sea is Laughing (el Bahr Biyidhak)
1928: The Maker of Clogs (sâne' el Qabâqîb)