||Year End 2005|
Interview: Back to the Future
Unions: A Real Page Turner
Industrial: The Pin-Striped Union
International: Around The World In 365 Days
Legends: Terrific, Tommy
Your Rights At Work: Worth Fighting For
Politics: The Year That Was
Economics: Master and Servant Revisited
Culture: 2005: The Year of Living Repetitively
Bad Boss: The Bottom Ten
Religion: Hymns from a Different Song Sheet
The Locker Room
Waves of Destruction
Free to Rat
Tax Cuts and Cockroaches
Proportion, Not Distortion
Postcard from East Timor
The eager audience waits patiently in the Maubara marketplace for the performance to start. The marketplace, with its simple thatched roof over a raised patch of stony ground, has turned into a theatre tonight. East Timorese of all ages, numbering close to 600 take up their seats. The children prop themselves up the front, as close to the action as possible. It is dark and young actors scrounge for masks, props, make-up and costumes backstage. The portable generator kicks into action and the performance begins.
The audience breaks into fits of laughter every time the actor who plays the prostitute character comes onto the stage. During other scenes the children lean forward and listen intently to the dialogue and at one stage when a fight scene is acted out behind a white curtain, the children run around the back to make sure it is not real.
The performance tonight will not only entertain, but will also address issues relating to community development. Important health and social messages are conveyed through drama, combining information with entertainment. Community theatre is a very effective communication tool in a country with high illiteracy rates. Young actors are organising theatre performances like this in different parts of East Timor in venues such as schools, transport terminals and in church grounds.
Tonight's performance is proving to be a great hit with the audience. What is most encouraging is that this was made possible through the support of Australian workers who contribute their hard earned dollars to development projects managed by Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA. This performance is the result of a partnership between APHEDA and a committee of local theatre workers called the Expressional Arts Project (EAP). The success of this scheme has led other international donors to also use community theatre to educate the local people on such issues as domestic violence, child abuse, workers rights, etc in East Timor.
In August, Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA organised a weeklong retreat called 'Opening the Curtains to Theatre in East Timor' (Loke Kurtina ba Teatru Iha Timor Leste). Fifty five East Timorese theatre artistes, aged sixteen to twenty-five, gathered with five professional Australian theatre artistes and other local theatre tutors for an intensive week of reviewing past performances. They also shared skills and developed strategies for the future.
As the night falls and the performance comes to an end, the young actors are given rapturous applause. The audience has been thoroughly entertained and in between the belly laughs, the important messages have been imparted. The people in Maubara will be talking about this event for some time to come.
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