"Audio Drama is one of the most challenging types of writing. It depends on imagination, and the writer must keep in his mind that the audience does not see or read, but depend completely on the dialogue to follow the events. Therefore, the dialogue, in an indirect way, describes the places, characters, and feelings."
Youssef Ezzeldin Eassa
The emergence of audio/radio drama in Egypt was associated with the emergence of the radio and the broadcast institute that was established in 1934, at a point in time when Egypt was seeking to keep pace with technology in terms of journalism, cinema and other creative fields. At the time, writing was limited to the press, cinema, and theater. As for the radio, audio drama was still an unfamiliar field. The radio remained associated only with providing songs and news, without giving attention to the possibility of presenting a creative product based on the art of narration and literary stories.
Ezz El Din Eissa was born in 1917, and since his childhood, Eissa was fascinated by the art of storytelling.The village children used to eagerly gather round him to hear his stories, which he made up out of his own wide imagination. His university studies opened an opportunity for him to expand his literary talent, he joined the Faculty of Science, Cairo University in 1934, and was interested in various fields of art, including fictional writing, then entered the world of audio drama writing through Mohamed Fathi, Head of the Radio Broadcasting House, who read his story (Wheel of Days), and from there Eissa took his first steps in creating history in this artistic field.
During the 1940s, the radio became an important medium for Egyptians, which allowed the emergence of a star like Eissa and his works. The first director in the Egyptian audio drama, was the great writer and director ElSayed Beder, who collaborated with Eissa to present a radio play entitled (The Genius Cries), the heroine was played by the iconic “Lady of the Arabic Screen” Faten Hamama. At that time, audio drama works were only composed of one episode, until the series “Enemy of the People” appeared in 1955, which was the first radio series composed of 34 episodes, created by Eissa. It was said that during the airing time of those episodes, the streets were empty of pedestrians, and the cinema halls were closed for that time slot, as audiences were all listening to the series.
After the success of (The Enemy of the People), Eissa became a major pillar in the radio drama industry in Egypt, and went on to write several series such as (The Wandering Mamlouk) 1956 and (Storms) 1957 and (The Bitter Honey) 1958 and (The Lost Day) 1960, an audio drama work composed of about 180 episodes.
Youssef Ezzeldin Eassa succeeded in presenting about 400 works for the Egyptian radio, which made literature available through the radio audio medium, not only in books for those who can read and write.
Eissa had a radio broadcast experience through the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), while studying in England for a PhD in Zoology. A selection of his works were broadcasted on the World Wide Web, among them: (a letter to God), (the little jasmine tree), (in a drop of water), (this is the world), (Republic of the idiots ) and (Ice Man).
It is unique in the experience of Ezz El-Din Eissa that he was awarded the Egyptian State Appreciation Prize for Literature for his audio drama works in 1974, a precedent that had never happened before in Egypt. The award committee considered that Eissa elevated the status of radio stories to the level of literature. The ideas presented by Eissa in his experience with audio drama have inspired many in Egypt, Eissa saw the radio as an amazing invention in its impact on the audience, as it made the creative product available for them in an easy format.
Eissa left our world in 1999, after a rich lifelong journey that brought together science, literature and creative drama writing for radio, cinema and television.