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.
Image by Julia Helen Jeffrey (stonemaiden-art)
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.