What about us

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The Story

PEACE OVER WAR

Based on an original love story, the What About Us Musical is a protest musical that brings Peace over War through a love story that starts in Lemuria, a hidden land, to this world and all its conflicts, specifically Northern Ireland, Israel and Palestine. Elina is a spirited and brilliant healer in Lemuria, who (unbeknownst to her) is pregnant by her beloved Mahon, a wise warrior who has fought wars in the world, and seen the conflicts caused by the beliefs to which humans cling.

Elina lands in the warm, beautiful desert near Jerusalem. She sees a slave train coming towards her with young men and women in bonds, forcibly trafficked. Damon and Nevil, the villainous duo of the story (a mercenary businessman and a wheedling politician) enslave her. When she gives birth to Mac, and he is robbed from her by Morgana and Nevil, she throws herself into healing her fellow trafficked friends, and those from either side of the wall in Jerusalem- Muslims, Jews and Christians, none of whom know where this refugee slave is from. Elina has a transcendent quality, embodying the earth mother archetype. She can always overcome adversity with her great gifts. She leads protests led by women for Peace, those who long for their sons not to be mongered for war. She is always longing for Mahon, and for their son Mac. And it is Mac, who is enslaved to war by Nevil and Damon, who goes on to become the leader of a great Peace movement, with his girlfriend Fatima.

Image by Julia Helen Jeffrey (stonemaiden-art)

Morgana, the lady with the Raven, comes to trick Elina out of Lemuria, leaving Mahon behind. Elina vanishes in the night, and when Mahon sees the Raven feathers at Lemuria’s passage, he knows. He will do everything in his power to get Elina back.
In this incredible story, the hero and heroine, parents to the amazing Mac, must find their way back to each other through a world enslaved by war and corruption. In the end, Mac will lead a movement to change that world…
How it all began (for me)
I never thought I would write a musical story script. I’ve written film scripts, but this is very different. We workshopped a lot by zoom, with the Creative Team Sammy, Shoshi, Aaron and Des, and with Musicians in Israel. We workshopped in realtime in Portugal, it was amazing. The story grew, expanded, it took wild leaps across time that had to be tamed into twenty years. Quite a feat. The characters Elina and Mahon, Morgana, Mac…all took off, and grow stronger and more present every day. Out of the story comes the music, and the choreography… What About Us is going to be an amazing experience.

The musical story has been further developed (Draft 1 completed) and now the Irish Youth Musical Theatre (IYMT) will provide young, talented artists the opportunity to work alongside the IYMT founder and Artistic Director Seimi Campbell visualizing the story as a stage musical. This is an important part of the musical, giving young people a platform to express their talent and contribute ideas, songs, lyrics and narratives for the musical.

I’m very excited to collaborate and create with such a wealth of talent and richness of cultures as we celebrate the shared experience of theatre-making – something that transcends all barriers.

Seimi Campbell

Artistic Director, Irish Youth Musical Theatre

In parallel, workshops are being scheduled with young Israeli and Palestinian artists who will have their collaborative voices heard in the development of What About Us. The goodwill is amazing and its wonderful to witness old barriers to working across multiple culture and communities being broached.

A Musical born in Lockdown
What About Us is a live stage musical being created and performed by talented young artists, including those whose countries may have been affected by war and terror such as Israel, Palestine and Ireland. There are over 50 artists from around the world in India, Ireland, Israel, Palestine, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, the USA, Canada and the UK collaborating across the world.

 

The Arts world is suffering dreadfully, no theatres open, no concerts, no live performances, no work for artists, no income. We all admire the innovation and creativity from so many digital platforms, yet the online experience will never replace the joy of live music, gigs, socializing and performing. Hopefully the second half of 2021 will see the defeat of the pandemic and the reopening of the arts to the public. Oh yes.

Stephen Byrne

producer of What About Us

The only artist who has been consistently vociferous about the brutality of lockdowns and its effects on the lives of musicians, and its eclipsing of live music events, has been Van Morrison.

Despite all the new challenges and see-saw lockdowns the What About Us creative teams are forging ahead with great gusto. It’s been an incredible process of collaboration in story workshopping and music workshopping. In fact, the lockdowns have given great focus for creative production. We aim for the musical premiering late 2022. We are all not only dreaming this into being, but working every day to make this wonderful event happen and bring the change into the world by being that change, as our friend Mahatma Gandhi would say.

Palestinian Rap

In the musical What About Us, Fatima is the girlfriend of Mac, son of Elina a Mahon. Fatima is a rap artist, and she is really dynamic, fighting for the wall between Jewish and Muslim communities to be taken down, and for the cities and villages to be cleaned of plastic waste, which mounts up ominously on the streets.

Fatima is loosely based on some of the amazing emerging Palestinian rappers, like the your Abdel-Rahman Al-Shantti, who was recently on Irish TV show ‘Maura and Daithi’. His video in which he’s rapped his most loved songs has made this boy a household name.

The posted video of Abdel Rahman al-Shantti singing outside his Gaza City school in English that could be described as confident and with an attitude that befits the great stars in the world, he earned himself over a million views and also a lot of well wished messages from around the globe.

Abdel’s dream is to spread love between the Palestinians and the Israelis. He wants the conflict between the two states to end. But some of his opinions got him into trouble with Hamas, and created ripped in Gaza. Hamas favour military action over peace negotiations with Israel.

Fatima the rapper, girlfriend of Mac, will bring an edge to the What About Us Musical, challenging the rhetoric of war and destruction with the message of Peace and Love, through Rap.
Peace is a dream. Its the message of What About Us. Reconciliation may be a dirty word in many circles, but for many young people, it is the dream they long for.

Abdel wants to shine a light, just as the characters in What About Us do. The challenges of course are very real. To even have Palestinian and Israeli musicians workshop together, is very difficult. But this is what the dream is about. To make this happen. To bring young people in, who are more evolved than the older political systems. Who know what is needed for the future of their own children.

For the young rapper Abdel, Arabic is his first language but he can also wrap in perfect English, having listened intently to rappers in the USA, and Eminem, Tupac and DJ Khaled. Abdel loves Eminem.
For our character Fatima, she has the same dream as Abdel. She dreams and raps for peace.

Siofra O’Donovan has recieved a Professional Development Award in 2020 for her work in writing and researching the What About Us musical. She is writing full time for What About Us. With many thanks for their support.

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