|3000 years of Civillisation, 18 years of tyranny
|Nefertiti And Akhenaten
Egypt 1350 BC, its power at its height, its religion and its gold and
blue art and buildings already 2000 years old, the most splendid
and spectacular the world has ever seen, the wonder of the world.
The play opens with the stunning and sensuous orgiastic rites of
the temple of Isis.
The old pharaoh Amenhotep III has died. Egypt has very high
hopes of the new young pharaoh. He is the one who has
subsequently been described as the first Scientist, the first
monotheist, the first romantic, the first individual......
There was only one problem, he was a misshapen, ugly brute and
misanthropist who hated Egypt's ancient religion.
He married the 15 year old Nefertiti, a beautiful high priestess of
On their wedding night, contrary to the eroticism of the dance in
the ceremony, and her romantic expectations of this highly
praised young man whom she had never seen before, she is
confronted with a hostile, limping, over tall, cripple.
He screams at her, throws a chair at the wall and sits sulking
waiting for the dawn, declaring that he hates the night.
In fact he is obsessed with the sun which he worships in the form of
Aten Ra, "the one true God" which he claims is his father.
Despite the inauspicious beginnings she charms him with her wit
and intelligence, and they fall in love.
Akhenaten sets out to reform religion in Egypt, and to convert it to
monotheistic worship of Aten, and to abandon the old gods, Amun,
Isis, Osiris, Anubis, and the rest. There is uproar, and resistance.
The old priesthood and the aristocracy are against him. The people
themselves are in confusion.
There is chaos at the bottom..... but opportunism at the top.
He moves the capital from ancient Thebes to a new built city called
Akhetaten, 200 miles away in the desert. A beautiful city...with a
very large police garrison.
The new Egypt is being formed, around the new religion of Aten
Ra, and the cult of the personality of Akhenaten himself and his
young queen Nefertiti. Art and religion are transformed by his
The romantic and serious minded pharaoh and the new religion of
the Sun has reached his zenith.
Nefertiti's father, a high priest of the old religion, travels to the
new city to confront Akhenaten with disturbing news; the
labourers of Egypt are all dying before the age of 20. Akhenaten's
fierce determination to rebuild the temples and palaces of Egypt is
driving the people to its knees.
Also opposition is growing, and the people are still worshipping the
Akhenaten has conspirators brought to him, and makes them
crawl on their bellies before him, onto a huge brass 'scales of justice'
where he weighs them against a feather, and condemns them.
Meanwhile Nefertiti has given birth to 5 children, all daughters.
Akhenaten's frustration is growing at not having a son.
Akhenaten's mother the beautiful Queen Tiye, dies, after
condemning him as a tyrant. The drastic changes in Egypt had
literally driven her mad, and she imagined Egypt to be flooded by
the Nile. He agrees to have her buried according to the old rites,
and serves at the macabre opening of the mouth ceremony, an
ancient rite where the mouth of the dead person is pushed open to
enable it to eat in the after life. The dark mystery of the ancient
gods is once again seen in Egypt; Akhenaten has to dress as the god
of the dead, Anubis and hold his dead mother's body upright. He
suddenly flees in terror from the tomb, back into the blinding
His mother's death and funeral fills him with horror and he
resolves that the old religion will be buried with her, he will stamp
it out completely. He sends his men to destroy the old temples, of
Isis, Amun, Anubis and Osiris.
In his desperation to have a son he decides to marry his own
daughter, Mekataten, aged 12.
Nefertiti is outraged and turns against him, and begins to consider
her own role in setting up what has become a tyranny.
She watches her daughter grow big with Akhenaten's child. After
nine months the 12 year old Mekataten dies giving birth to a
Nefertiti vows to kill Akhenaten.
She berates him for his fear of darkness.
There is now growing opposition, and Akhenaten's great scheme is
failing. He is also going blind from staring directly at the sun.
Akhenaten now faces the open hatred and opposition of his wife
Nefertiti, on whom he is increasingly dependant in his blindness,
and whom he still loves.
In his bewilderment and frustration he even takes to going out
onto the streets incognito, amongst the prostitutes and petty
thieves, and berating the workers for worshipping the old gods,
and on one occasion he is nearly killed, and has to be rescued by his
Nefertiti uses his erratic behaviour as a reason to seize power from
him, and effectively make herself the ruler of Egypt. She begins to
reinstate the old religion, including the sexual rites in the temple
of Isis, of which she is once against High Priestess.
In grief and despair Akhenaten plans to build his own tomb not, as
he would like, dedicated to Aten Ra the sun god, but according to
the old "false" religion, thus in his mind condemning his soul to
oblivion and endless night. All this to please Nefertiti and to
expiate his sins against her.
Her goes at night in the frozen desert, with Nefertiti's father, to
look at his new built tomb. He goes in alone.
There in the tomb, buried deep in the rock, alone in the desert, he
is confronted by the god Osiris, god of darkness and the underworld
which he has sought to deny, and he drops dead in fright.
His body is taken back to Nefertiti, who has emerged from the
orgiastic rites of Isis, as she did at the beginning; Akhenaten's body
is symbolically held up before her in the arms of a priest dressed as
Anubis; she sings his eulogy as the golden sun rises.
Akhenaten's body is placed in the arms of Osiris, his place in the
afterlife returned to him, as Egypt's golden religion of eternal life
There are 16 songs
AMENHOTEP III Ay Kesperu Ra (Nefertitis father)
A PERFECT MAN Ay Kesperu Ra (Nefertitis father)
WEDDING SONG Akhenaten
NO BROKEN BONES Nefertiti
PRAISE YOUR GODS Akhenaten
SHIP OF FOOLS Akhenaten
BEND MY IMAGE TILL IT BREAKS Akhenaten
SLAVES Slave Master
WHEN NIGHT FALLS Nefertiti
BRING THEM IN ON THEIR KNEES Akhenaten
ONE DAY Nefertiti
NO BROKEN BONES (reprise) Nefertiti
I NEVER KNEW Nefertiti
THE DARK PATH OF THE SUN Nefertiti
INSIDE THE TOMB Akhenaten
AKHENATEN Pharaoh of Egypt
NEFERTITI his wife
AY KHEPERU RE father to Nefertiti, and a High Priest of Amun
QUEEN TIYE, Akhenaten's mother
MAID to Nefertiti
RAMOSE Vizier and Chancellor of Egypt
MAANAKHETEF a noble
HIYE a noble
MAHU , chief of police
MEKATATEN daughter to AKHENATEN, 12 yrs old
other daughters at various ages between 3 and 10
A demo-tape of the songs is available on request from