Last Friday, Alarm Will Sound performed a new music-theater piece, I Was Here I Was, with music by Kate Soper and a libretto by Nigel Maister. Soper's work was about the Temple of Dendur, the 2000-year-old Egyptian temple that was famously rescued from a watery oblivion in the 1960s when Egypt built the Aswan Dam. So, it was appropriate that the piece was performed in the Sackler Wing of the museum, right at the steps of the temple itself, which was moved to the museum in the late 1970s. It was almost as if the temple was listening.
The work covered different periods in the temple's past, from the time it was built in 15 BC to the present day. Notably, it included a lyrical section drawn from the travels of the nineteenth-century British traveler, Amelia Edwards, whose writing about her trip to Egypt inspired Maister's libretto.