Once in Cairo there was an esteemed comic actor, Mohammad —-. As adept at playing one-acts of Farag as he was in interpreting Shakespeare’s classics, he was the country’s finest. When he was onstage, his laugh was so infectious that the audience exploded in delight. They left the theater skipping, and that night would dream of the land of milk and honey.
A much younger Kamal —- was making a name for himself. He, too, had the gift of making people laugh. His big chance came when he was chosen to play the lead in Cairo’s main theater, in a production directed by none other than the renowned Azhar —-. Rehearsals were going well, when Azhar demanded that Kamal learn to laugh like Mohammad. “He is the master; his laugh is that of heaven. It must be done!” Being young, Kamal followed Azhar’s directive, and worked day and night to imitate Mohammad’s laugh.
By opening night he had succeeded. After a particularly funny line, he would copy Mohammad perfectly. If you shut your eyes, you would swear that Mohammad was on the stage. Much to Kamal’s surprise, the audience remained silent. (Some booed.) When the final curtain fell, the crowd shuffled out, and that night dreamt of fire and flood. After three performances, the play closed.