Focus on Urdu play in online drama workshop
Farhat Anjum, a Class X student of Jagbandhu Girls High School, was eager to do something new when she got an invitation to attend an online drama workshop.
It taught Farhat much more than honing her acting skills. “It was fun emoting before a phone screen and using our limited space to the fullest,” she said.
Farhat was one of the nine less privileged girls, who got to attend a 15-day workshop conducted by Canadian playwright Jawaid Danish. An initiative of NGO Rehnuma-e-Niswaan, the actors were selected from Calcutta, Howrah and South 24 Parganas. This workshop was a part of Kashf, an annual event comprising intra and inter-school competitions organised by Rehnuma-e-Niswaan for the Urdu medium schools. The girls there learnt some basics of theatre, dialogue delivery and life skills. More so, a full-fledged play was performed online.
The 21-minute play, Lockdown Ki Aik Khamosh Eid, had an all-female cast. The workshop and the subsequent performance ended up empowering the girls besides teaching them the role of drama in daily lives.
“Running my professional theatre group, RangManch, in Canada for 25 years gave me the confidence to work with the young and dedicated. This play was created without proper gadgets. The girls often borrowed their household cellphones for the project,” said Danish.
The Urdu play focused on how children were dealing with the pandemic and their home-bound lives. It also explored their mental state while coping with a pandemic, climate change and global violence.
Class XII student Gulrana Aafreen Shahedi of Howrah High School said, “We were encouraged to get into the skin of the characters that we were portraying.
Rehnuma-e-Niswaan plans to organise many more online events for students. “Public speaking is a great way to boost the children’s confidence. We were testing waters in the virtual platform this time, but the response was overwhelming,” said the NGO’s secretary and founder Tabassum Siddiqua.