KHARTOUM (SUDANOW)— It was a shadow drama that was presented to an audience of children but may provide an answer to the question of identity for the Sudanese adults. The events of this 'Hamoor Wish' drama for children are full of wishes and include a day known as "the day of wishes " that occurs each year in which the dream of one of the animals comes true. Some of the dreams are reasonable and others are illogical.
The events of the drama include a 'development dream' as in 'the crow dream' and 'the security and peace dream' in the 'nightingale dream'. But there is the dream of 'Hamoor', the nickname of a donkey (himar in Arabic), who has an illogical and irrational dream of having two wings. Hamoor wish is the only one which comes true and he becomes arrogant and haughty towards his friends. But he misses his identity, whether he is a donkey or a bird. The curse of losing identity and of having wings falls upon him and he ceases showing arrogance and he wishes to return to his friends.
The drama was presented by the Sudan Puppet Group which is comprised of a number of graduates of the Drama Section, College of Education, the Nilain University, who serve in the education sector and founders of the Sudanese Puppet Actors Union, the first one of its kind in the Arab and African regions, that was founded on 11 March 2015.
Three shows have so far been presented on the folklore arts theatre in Omdurman co-sponsored by Junior Baby Stores and Faisal Cultural Center. The producers say the shows will continue to attract the largest number of viewers in the future after the success of the experimental shows despite the unavailability of a theatre designed as a puppet or a child theatre in the Sudan.
The director and author of the play, Farid Rizgallah Jibril, who is the head of the Sudanese Puppet Actors Union, said it is a single-act play of the puppet theatre belonging to the shadow theatre. It was prepared to address the family and the child in a way that both of them can find their interest in the same show, said Jibril.
He added that determination of the identity requires a lot of time and agreement on fusing and blending the diverse features into a melting pot metaphorically known by definition as the identity. The Hamoor Wish poses the question of whether he is a donkey or a bird.
Jibril considers Hamoor Wish the first drama of its kind for two reasons: first because it was written to be presented to the family and the child and secondly, because it was the first shadow theatre drama. Although the shadow theatre was among the oldest forms of the puppet theatre, it was not documented or presented in the Sudan. However, a workshop on the shadow theatre was organized in a previous session of the Bug'ah Theatre festival in Omdurman.
The idea of creating a theatrical work for the family and the child that targets varied age groups based on the puppet theatre was designed for emancipation of the child's strong imagination and releasing the freedom of expressing his opinions in addition to broadening his capacity for innovation and allowing the people around him to share his knowledge and ideas, particularly as the Hamoor Wish drama was derived from the primary school syllabus, Jibril said.
He added that the shadow theatre contributes to entertainment of the child, enriching his vocabulary and enhancement of his capacity for expression. Beside mitigation of the psychological pressures, it is an important method of instruction and education that contributes to the mental, intellectual, social, psychological, scientific and linguistic development of the child, Jibril said.
He added that the theatre strongly contributes to shaping the behavior of the child and satiating his basic needs and he is born with devices of consciousness which enables him to receive the different forms of art. The puppet theatre, in particular, secures all the important elements of absorption of the child, especially during the early childhood and, moreover, it is a dramatic art directed to the children in the form of mobile characters on the stage, reflecting many educational, moral, instructional and psychological values.
The drama teacher and arts critic, Dr. Salih Abdul Gadir, described the drama as pioneer, novel and a positive venture by the director in all Sudanese dramatic shows in general and those which address the child and the family, in particular, as no such work has been presented for children in the Sudan.
It is to be noted that the techniques employed in the presentation and the movements were excellent, in general, while the text was perfect. As regards the educational and instructional aspects, the drama consists of noble values directed to the child and the family, advising: "don't be selfish", "be contented with yourself", "wish welfare to all people" and "don't differ from your peers, don't deviate from your group and respect their values and your community."
The critic added that taking it as a first and pioneer experiment, the drama is excellent and deserves encouragement because it can develop further and assume different patterns. However, he went on, it requires more accurate language and pronunciation so that the child will not be affected by the mistakes and it also requires control of the timing and duration of the presentation in observance of the ages and endurance of the children.