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Aida Elkashef


Woman at Point Zero

LOD / Bushra El-Turk, Laila Soliman & Stacy Hardy

In Woman At Point Zero, we meet an imprisoned Egyptian woman on the night before her execution. An opera about women's rights and abuse - but most of all: about a woman of extraordinary strength. 

Woman at Point Zero is about Nawal El Saadawi’s encounter with Firdaus who is on death row in a Cairo prison, who tells her life story to Nawal the night before she is to be executed, for murdering her pimp.


Firdaus tells the story of her early days in rural Egypt, her love of education, her forced marriage to an abusive elderly man, how she ran away and became a prostitute, and even as a rich and influential woman, she turns to rebuild a new life as a respectable office worker, where she falls in love only to be shattered by betrayal. She turns back to prostitution and eventually kills her old pimp in self-defense. Despite the harrowing and shocking subject matter, the story ultimately celebrates a woman of extraordinary strength and dignity, who, paradoxically, found a sense of freedom and power even as she is about to face death. An allegorical tale of historical female oppression, Woman at Point Zero simultaneously questions what true freedom and empowerment can mean for women.


Composition  Bushra El-Turk
Direction  Laila Soliman


Libretto based on Women at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi
Libretto adaptation by  Stacy Hardy


Video  Aida Elkashef


Ensemble ZAR - recorders, classical accordeon, Japanese sho, Renaissance crumhorn, Slovenian fujara, Armenian duduk, Korean taegun, Arabic ney