Acting doesn’t have to be simply about putting on a show. Sometimes, the smallest gestures and expressions acted out on stage can communicate a deeper message to the audience, Naema Butt, general secretary of the Pakistan-US Alumni Network’s (PUAN) Lahore chapter, told young participants of the Theatre for the Oppressed workshop on Sunday.
The one-day workshop was organised by the PUAN and Pehlaaj Theatre Group at Faiz Ghar Foundation on Sunday.
The idea behind the workshop was to engage with children from SOS Village and local neighbourhoods and train them in recognising and enacting gestures and actions to convey messages. The children were told about how even the smallest actions could be part of ‘acting’.
On June 17, the theatre group had conducted similar workshops with people with disabilities and students of all ages to demonstrate how they could enact certain scenes and employ various techniques in order to use theatre as a catalyst for change. The workshops introduced new techniques. The participants were taught to use their bodies to create images to demonstrate how they felt oppressed. The images encouraged participants to come together and start an active dialogue on how to work towards change.
The project is headed by Butt. Her team includes Hannah Gardell from Sweden, Subaina, Maha, Rana Saifullah, Zareen, Abdul Moeed, Hamza, Nida Javaid and Zunair Rafiq.
During the workshop held at Milestone, an institute for the physically disabled, the participants were taught to use sign language, meditation, and brainstorming techniques to facilitate discussion on major issues faced by the society. They participated in theatre exercises and games to learn methods of finding solutions to issues like violence, discrimination, harassment, and extremism. Waqar Ahmad, alumni coordinator at the US consulate general in Lahore, attended the event to support the PUAN team.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2015.