Performing Headline Pieces and Working on Final Group Performance

Our fifth workshop started with the group working on our headline pieces. After some rehearsing, we performed our work to the class and received feedback and suggestions. The headline pieces were very effective because they were a reflection of real stories. We then had a discussion about forced and arranged marriage. Forced marriage is when a person is married against their own will. They are not given a choice and their spouse is assigned by parents, relatives or other family members.  With arranged marriage, the marriage is discussed freely and although the parents are involved in finding the spouse, the individual makes the final decisions. Together we brainstormed the many motives for forced and arranged marriage. We came up with a few concepts which include gaining status, for money, a person’s age or acquiring citizenship in a country. We also compared the difference between the forced marriage and the ideal arranged marriage. The discussion was very insightful and sensitive because we felt comfortable enough to share personal stories and experiences making the concepts that more concrete. — Mariah Carty

The sixth workshop started with my giving a presentation about forced marriage, going over the difference between arranged and forced marriage and also the signs of abuse that could be related to a possible forced marriage. Then we looked at a video from England about a woman who was forced into a marriage. Sheniz and I led a discussion about what issues the girls saw that were brought up in the video. Then Sheniz wrote the girls responses and also how they would feel in the situation. She also took the discussion into the direction of the people who are involved in a forced marriage situation. Then she asked the girls to choose a character and write from the perspective of that individual. The girls chose being the father, mother, forced marriage survivor and the survivor’s friend. The rest of the workshop, they wrote a page of poetry that involved thoughts from the perspective of their character. Everyone shared their pieces at the end and each piece was brilliant. Then Sheniz led them towards how to perform their pieces in a group, for example, using the technique of inserting their lines after each other as if it was a conversation in a “stream of consciousness” instead of the girls reading their full pieces individually. After directing them in that way, Sheniz left the girls to decide for themselves as to who would say her line when. We saw them discussing certain characters repeating the same line, which created more complexity about the lack of communication and understanding in the situation as each character held to his/ her beliefs. In the next workshop, the girls would finish their pieces and start practicing performance. They would also get time on the performance day for more rehearsal. — Amna Siddiqui



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