Dubai Culture Theatre Workshop with Naji Al Hay and Osama Abu Talib
A good script is one that aesthetically blends the creativity of the writer while providing ample room for performers and directors to derive their own interpretations, thus creating a compelling theatre experience. This was the main message of a unique theatre workshop organised by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) aimed at promoting the skills of young talent in theatre.
Led by theatre expert Dr Osama Abu Talib who has taught in leading theatre institutions across the Arab world, the two-week workshop held at the Dubai Public Library in Al Twar was attended by 20 young theatre enthusiasts. It covered all aspects of scripting for theatre – from identifying a theme to critical evaluation – thus giving the participants a comprehensive overview on how to create powerful plays.
Yasser Al Gergawi, Manager of Performing Arts, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, said: “The objective of this intense script-editing workshop was to enable our young theatre talent to understand the intricacies of script writing and in turn strengthen their own works. In addition to strengthening the overall theatre scene, we are confident that by drawing on the lessons learnt at the workshop, our talented youngsters will also showcase a stronger roster of plays during this year’s Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre to be held in October.”
Dr Abu Talib, a veteran theatre professional, shared with the eager participants the various aspects that go into making a good script. He discussed at length about the origin of plays, drawing examples from historical Greek tragedies, and shared his insights on how the Arabic theatre sector has evolved in terms of scripting.
He said that while scripts are written, it is important to consider how directors and actors enact the scenes, and thus always give room for creative interpretation. “Every director has a certain way of execution and what every script writer must bear in mind is to envision how a play will be performed.”
Dr Abu Talib added: “The writer must be aware of every aspect of what goes on in the stage – from the expressions of the actors to the props that will add an extra dimension to the play. The writer must also be aware of how the public will perceive the play; it is extremely important to engage the audience. There are no short-cuts to script-writing; one must practice regularly and polish the script to perfection.”
The participants were impressed with how the workshop enabled them to acquire a new approach and vision to writing. One of the participants, Wafa Ghaznader said that the workshop opened up new ideas and inspired the participants to push beyond established norms. A writer herself, the workshop helped her to understand how to treat a script, bring a story alive and convert it into a compelling play that touches the audience. Another participant, Mohamed Abdullah Hamdy, who is an actor, said the workshop was comprehensive and helped to strengthen writing and criticism skills. This, in turn, helped him to contribute better to the plays.
The workshop was in line with the recommendations of the judging committee of the Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre to host training programmes prior to the festival to boost quality standards.
The fifth edition of the Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre will be held from October 1 to 10, 2011, and focuses on promoting Emirati and Arab theatre artists and enthusiasts by providing a dedicated platform to showcase their talent in addition to sharpening their skills through critique lessons led by experts.