I’ve just returned to the UK from a week in Austria at the Salzburg Global Seminar on Education for refugees and migrants. It was a very stimulating event in stunning settings with educators from all over the world. Education specialist, Rida Thabet and I presented about our work in Gaza in UNRWA and the Hands Up Project.
Then one evening we put on a remote theatre workshop for the seminar participants. This was a nice chance to try out the green screen that I now take with with me everywhere I go, and also for them to work with two extracts of plays created as part of last year’s remote theatre competition for Palestinian children.
We only had about 45 minutes for each group to read the play, plan how they would do it, rehearse it and then perform it. The first group worked with an excerpt from ‘I will wait until they open the gate. This play was originally created and performed by Sara, Afaf, Abeer, Reema and Saja from Beach Elem Co-ed School (C), Gaza with support form their teacher, Luzan Matar. Here’s the seminar participants’ version. I particularly like the way they have used depth and height in their performance. There’s a slight issue with fuzziness from the green screen of course but I think that this is caused by not having a bright enough light on it. Anyway a really nice performance. I love how the giraffe has to bend down to make his face come into view.
Here’s the original, full version, performed by the girls in Gaza…
The second group worked with an excerpt from ‘Welcome to Earth’ originally created and performed by Mahmoud Kafafi, Rida Amouri, Ahmed Afghani, Abdul-Rahman Madi, Ahmed Abboush from Askar Boys UNRWA school, Nablus, with support from their teacher Ghada Hamdan. We used the virtual background feature of zoom but we didn’t actually have the green screen available when it was being rehearsed. The result was that the spaceship and the characters popped in and out of view and (by chance really) this effect fitted really well with the theme of aliens arriving on a new planet. So we decided to keep it in the final performance. What do you think?
Here’s the original version performed by the boys in Nablus..
I think this way of organising a workshop is a really nice introduction to remote theatre and it’s something that I’d love to do more of in English classes of teenagers around the world. Now that we have another great new book of 30 remote plays made by young people in Palestine, we have lots of resources available for these workshops. Let us know if you’d like to arrange one in your school.
Unfortunately we’ve already run out as we presented nearly 200 kids and their teachers with their own copies when we were in Palestine just before we went to Austria. But there will be plenty more copies available to buy in the new year. Watch this space!