Artists of determination in UAE stage stunning e-play

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on September 20, 2020 | Last updated on September 20, 2020 at 01.48 am


This play reflects the lives of people during the pandemic, explained Alba.

While the world struggled and cribbed during the virus-imposed lockdown, a group of 16 people of determination (PoD) made judicious use of their time by participating in a virtual play.

Titled Quarantined for What Feels like Forever, the 40-minute play is a series of monologues by the PoD actors. The virtual play is written and directed by 28-year-old Dubai resident Alba Quadros, a special educator and a drama teacher. She released the play last month under her theatre initiative 'Determined and Dramatic' with an all-star determined cast.

The actors, in the age group 13 to 40 years, were all differently-abled with clinical diagnosis such as cerebral palsy, global developmental delay, autism, Asperger's syndrome, muscular dystrophy, learning and intellectual difficulties and down syndrome.

"Our actors were from different parts of the UAE and also from India. Five of the students were from Dubai, two from Ajman, three from Abu Dhabi and other emirates. I auditioned about 20 people, and 16 of them went on to be a part of the play. I adapted the script to compliment the abilities of my actors. Apart from seeing them and their families virtually on Zoom calls, I would send them video recordings of myself doing the performance," she said.

Alba held solo rehearsals with each actor for 20 to 40 minutes every week and also met a couple of the actors who responded better to directions in person.

This play reflects the lives of people during the pandemic, explained Alba. "My main aim was to highlight the potential of PoDs in performance arts. We have seen PoDs sing and dance but drama is still an unchartered territory as they do not have the right platform. Not many people are there to guide them and this is what I aim to do - give PoDs a platform to perform."

The virtual play was also screened on-site at The Junction in Dubai where the PoDs along with their families were given a red-carpet welcome.

"It was amazing to watch my son learn to emote and articulate as he tried to synchronise his actions with his dialogues," said Meeta Chopra, mum of a 20-year-old participant, Pulkit Chopra. "Not only did he enjoy but Alba gave him the freedom to explore and further develop the part of the script she had given them," she said.

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