The White Chameleon [Drama]


20100724A witty and sad memory play by Christopher Hampton, set in Alexandria in the years up to and during the Suez invasion.

It is about his father, in Egypt working for Cable and Wireless, his mother, also from a Cable and Wireless family, and Ibrahim, the Egyptian servant who has been running the house for 20 years and who helps 10-year-old Chris, the future playwright, make up dramas for homework.

As it turned out, his first play was on in the West End when he was 20. His best-known plays include Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Total Eclipse, The Philanthropist and Tales From Hollywood. His films include Carrington, which he wrote and directed and which won the Jury Prize at Cannes, and Dangerous Liaisons for which he won an Oscar.

This autobiographical play is about the sense he has of his roots in this particular place, his early realisation that he was born to be a writer and also of the experience in his own life, as a child in Egypt, of the sudden dislocations that marked the end of Empire.

Alex Jennings plays Chris's father, Amanda Root his mother and Mido Hamada the redoubtable Ibrahim. The play is narrated by Christopher Hampton himself.

Narrator... Christopher Hampton

Father... Alex Jennings

Ibrahim... Mido Hamada

Mother... Amanda Root

Chris... Harvey O'Neil

Guard/Fouad/Basso/Stockman/Shoes-shine man/Egyptian boy... Ayman Hamdouchi

Albert... David Annen

Edward... Harrison Charles

Paul... Harry Manton

Schoolboy... Josef Lindsay

Egyptian singers:

Tony Kandel

Yazid Eid

Robert Hannouch

Pianist: Michael Webborn

Director: Polly Thomas

Producer: Ann Scott

A Greenpoint production for BBC Radio 4.

Christopher Hampton's play about his childhood in Alexandria in the 1950s.