Like the Norwegian author Henrik Ibsen’s avant-garde play, A Doll’s House from 1889, the monologues portray young women who question traditional gender patterns in a male-dominant society. – Why do I have stay in when my brother gets to go out? Why can’t I play with the guys? Why can’t I have a boyfriend?
Confidence from theater and peers
The purpose of the Norwegian-sponsored project is to empower young Jordanian women through theater training and playwriting workshop. – The stage has been the only place where we’ve felt that we could say these things. Theater gives us confidence to express feelings and opinions that we normally wouldn’t dare to express, says Baraia Ammar.
Her friend Rita Akroush emphasizes the importance of support from peers in similar situations: – Even though we come from different backgrounds, I have learned through this theater group that other girls face many of the same problems that I’m facing. And despite the different variations of the problems we face, all of us want to change the society in the same direction.
Need men to empower women
The National Center for Culture and Arts (NCCA) also aims to give young men a better understanding of their female peers and to encourage them too to promote women’s rights. By including men in the workshops as well, both genders learn how to resolve problem between men and women in a realistic setting, explain NCCA Director Lena Al Tall and Deputy Director Rania Qamhawi.
When asked what he thought when he heard the girls’ monologues, Wesam Doleh answered that he had heard about the sort of problems women are faced with here in Jordan, but that until now it had been hard to understand that they were real. Another guy was surprised to discover that women enjoy a lot of the same things that men do, and explained that he now knew much more about how girls feel.
Empowered to change society
– On stage we can say what we really feel about the society, and the relationship between men and women. And we gain confidence to bring this on to the whole community, says Yasmeen Ehsan.
Beyond merely empowering these teenagers to stand up for themselves and be critical, the powerful monologues, which will be performed all over Jordan by professional actors, ultimately aim to change the audience’s conception of the traditional women’s role. As the Norwegian Embassy’s staff experienced during a work-in-progress presentation performed by the committed students themselves, theater dealing with this intricate topic engages people much more effectively than news reports.
As one of the young women, Anan Tariq, so wisely put it: – It takes time to change people’s mentality, but we must start somewhere!
مونولوجات مسرحية تفاعلية تعرض لقضايا الاطفال والشباب