Participants in Muntada`s Special Needs Project Stage their Play
"There isn`t a more beautiful Mother`s Day present than the one offered by the students of Hope School in Ebellin," rejoices Safa Tamish, Muntada`s director. In addition to a festivity with music, flowers, balloons and kisses, a group of students worked very hard for three months with the artist Hanna Shammas to produce and stage the play "For Me". With pride and enthusiasm, they performed in front of their classmates, teachers, the mayor, and of course dozens of mothers and fathers, who had come to celebrate the occasion on Saturday, March 26, 2011.
In a festive yet intimate atmosphere, the young actors – dressed in button-down shirts and ties – waved banners, rehearsing again and again their role in the play, excited and full of emotion. Then, Hanna and the students took to the stage, and Hanna encouraged them tenderly to repeat his words in a loud voice: "Excuse us if we forget the text – it`s normal." At this point, all standards and criteria of perfection became irrelevant and everyone turned a blind eye to technical mishaps.
One of the most moving parts was the participation of the students in the audience, who joined in shouting sentences like "My body is mine!" and "We are the hope!" Everyone became part of the performance, and at times the audience was louder than the actors.
When asked about their happiest moment, one of the students replied: "When the teacher told me I was going to be an actor."
Muntada`s Role in the Theatre Project
As part of Muntada`s project for children with special needs, the play aimed to raise issues regarding sexual needs, emphasize the importance of sexuality education and open a dialogue on these topics with pupils, parents and educational staff. The artist and actor Hanna Shammas took up the challenge for Muntada.
After two initial visits to the school by Muntada`s Ola Yassin, we decided to work with the students directly, and their acting experience was a unique learning process for us, too, regardless of the "professional" outcome.
An intensive training phase began after a group of students was selected to participate in the project, and Mother`s Day was picked as the appropriate day to present the play.
This project experience further enhanced our approaches to community work, which are built on active participation, teamwork, and respect for people`s minds, abilities and needs.
We hope to repeat this wonderful experience in other places.