Yemeni student actors are tops [Archives:2007/1034/Culture]

March 19 2007
Luay, a child of class six, participated at the fourth Gulf scholastic drama festival and selected to be one of the best actors.
Luay, a child of class six, participated at the fourth Gulf scholastic drama festival and selected to be one of the best actors.
Ibtisam won the prize of the best actor.
Ibtisam won the prize of the best actor.
Yemeni student actors received the three first prizes at the fourth Gulf scholastic drama festival held Feb. 17 in the Omani capital of Muscat under the auspices of that nation's Ministry of Education.

Yemeni actors received the three top prizes for the festival's best actors selected from among a large number of actors participating from six Gulf nations: Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain, as well as Yemen.

Each country represented had its own theater troupe, with the Yemeni group consisting of students: Lu'ay Al-Bakri, Jamil Al-Dalali, Safa'a Al-Ansi, Amani Al-Raymi, Saddam Al-Arumi and Ibtisam Mohammed. Yemen's play, “The Secret of Life,” was directed by Abdulghani Mutawee', who works in the Ministry of Education's art activities administration.

Judges found 11th-grader Mohammed and elementary students Al-Bakri and Al-Ansi to be the festival's best actors.

Drama is one activity in nearly all schools in Yemen locally, as well as internationally. The weeklong student drama festival began with the play, “Al-Mizan” (The Balance), followed by the Emirati play, “The Kettle Game” and Bahrain's play, “Our Beautiful Land.”

The third day witnessed Saudi Arabia's play, “Al-Dana: It's Almost Like a Diamond” and Qatar's play, “Mansour Became Silent,” while Kuwait's play, “The Wall” and Yemen's “The Secret of Life” were presented on the final day.

Both the directors as well as all of the workers on these theatrical works were Ministry of Education employees or those related to education.

Judges were selected from among the participating delegations. The prizes for which students competed were best drama, best director, best set dressing, best makeup, best lighting, best costumes and best acting.

“Yemen's Ministry of Education has promoted many activities both inside and outside of Yemen. Yemen's first participation in a drama festival (a play competition) was in Saudi Arabia in 2005 wherein Yemenis took prizes for best drama, best set dressing, best narration, best lighting and best directing,” noted Mohammed Ali, deputy general director of scholastic activities.

“This is Yemen's second time to participate in a drama festival,” he added.

Because Arab lands are some of the world's poorest in terms of groundwater, it's urgent to reflect such people's reality and sufferings. Yemen's entry mentioned such lands' aridity and wasting water, as lack of water is the main problem forcing Arabs to travel from one country to another. The drama's text is based on a stable view of the Arab family's future and what change this tragedy will bring upon such families.

Mohammed, who won the prize for best actor, says, “My father is the one who has encouraged me the most. The trainers also pushed me to perform the mother's role in the play.

“Scene one portrayed the life of a normal family. The second scene began once the children went to sleep and was about a dream of one of the children played by Al-Bakri. In his dream, several ghosts came and fought to steal the one who was playing the role of the water drop. The third scene was about the difficulty of people's lives when they lack water,” she explained.

Librarian and the students' supervisor, Najat Al-Ansi, says, “The Ministry of Education holds annual festivals for Teachers Day, in which Ibtisam always participated in these festivals and received many honored certifications. We chose to participate in the Omani festival because she's one of our school's best actors.”

Al-Ansi and Al-Bakri also received best acting honors. Having begun acting at age 4, Al-Bakri's first play was about “Teachers Day.” He has participated in many plays; however, the Omani festival was his first participation outside of Yemen.

Al-Bakri's mother played a vital role in encouraging her son. “I told my mother I'd like to be an actor and as director of my school, she assisted me a lot to participate and become an actor in our school,” he explained.

As he describes, the Yemeni play was about water, which is 'the secret of life.' “We wanted to present the importance of water in our lives. I played the role of the son. Mohammed, who portrayed the mother, and Al-Ansi was the daughter,” he added.