Thorraya Ibrahim: We know that voice


The flamboyant characters that adorn the screen, the way they tackle the simplified yet deep dichotomy of the good and evil this world comprises, the challenges they encounter and the victories they pursue; one by one and all together crochet possibilities for the beauty that is a child’s imagination.

In their encounter with what eventually comes to be their much loved cartoon, the child, with this ingenuousness and innocence, molds a model to follow out of this work of art.

They associate their real-life struggles with the ones their favourite character stumbles upon. They learn to adopt similar aspirations and act out the same larger-than-life giggle. As they relate to their hero, they heartily register the latter’s looks, intentions and even the usually unnoticeable tone of his voice.

Their expertise in scrutinising such imagination-imbued encounters eventually allows them to develop a brilliant skill: the I-know-that-voice quality which they use to relate to and identify who the person behind the voice of their favourite cartoon character is.

Thorraya Ibrahim, an Egyptian actress and cartoon voice-over artist died Sunday at the age of 76. Ibrahim was reportedly sick for a long time before her death, and was even hospitalised at a hospital in Agouza for some time.

Born on 10 May, 1939 in Tanta, Ibrahim had an innate passion for acting and began her career in theatre in Tanta, before moving to Cairo where she began working in the fields of television and cinema. Ibrahim played secondary roles in an abundant repertoire which includes Hadith al-Sabah wa Al Masa’, Lahazzat Harrega, Al Sellem W Al Tho’ban and Katkoot.

But despite her roles in a total of 175 productions, and as is unfortunately the case with many secondary-role artists in Egypt, Ibrahim did not secure a spot on the renowned-celebrities list.

Ibrahim’s cartoon repertoire includes her voice-overs for a number of famous characters she had played during her last years, which include Dana Lelmoda in Abttal Khareqoon, Rose in Sharikkat Al Mor’ebeen Al Mahdooda, Nazla in Sayyarat, and Madame Bakkar in Atlantas Al Embratooreya Al Mafqooda.

However, seeing as social media venues keep attesting to their function as spaces where renegotiations of rigid categories and dictated realities can take place, Facebook users immediately took on the task of writing their own obituaries for the late actress.

Many circulated a photo of Ibrahim resting on a hospital chair with an artificial breathing tube attached to her face, as she made a V sign after participating in the most recent referendum held over a year ago.

But others preferred to remember Ibrahim for her cartoon voice-overs, sharing a photo with the actress’ face juxtaposed to photos of her famous cartoon roles.

Today, if you look up one of these cartoons on YouTube, you will stumble upon some, and you too will realise that while you might not be familiar with her name, you actually know that voice.