Interactive play for creation of safe environment for children in divided schools in Central Bosnia
Students of the Primary School of Busovača arrived in front of a sports hall ten minutes before the performance and they were impatiently waiting for their teachers to let them in. Actors of the Genesis Association were doing their last preparations for the beginning of the play called „I Am the Most Important“, which has been performed in 12 schools covered by the project of Safe Environment for Children in Divided Schools of Central Bosnia Canton. By the end of the project 50 performances should be watched by around 4000 children of the first to fourth grade age. The Genesis project is implemented with the support of UNICEF.
When everything was ready a signal was given to let the children into the sports hall and it was soon filled with cheerful children. They sat on mattresses and chairs, some were standing, while some of them squatted or sat on the floor, determined to watch the play. Music was heard from loudspeakers and actors stepped on the stage, which caused an eruption of excitement of children.
„Simply, the children are thrilled! They have an opportunity to watch plays two or three times a year, mainly for Christmas, Easter and some other occasions, therefore, this play is certainly useful. As I can see, it is performed in an appropriate manner, the children are familiar with it, they participate in it significantly and they can learn a lot from it“, teacher Dijana Krišto told us whispering, while Ljubiša Vasić and other members of the Genesis theatre group were performing the play which presents communication skills and peaceful prevention and conflict resolution in an acceptable manner.
„The play will be useful for children but also to us, the teachers, because we can also learn how to familiarize the children with some things in a way they understand best“, teacher Dijana added.
Along with the actors, the Numbers participate in the play too, each of them praising itself and explaining why that particular number is the best and most important. Two says that it is important because almost all the best things go in pairs; Four is the most important because of the four main directions, Seven is proud to be important because of seven continents. A plot occurs when they reach number 10 and start thinking about higher numbers. In the resolution, numbers realize that only jointly they can make other figures that are equality important: 24 hours in a day, 12 months in a year, 365 days... The story about colors shows to children that every color is important and has its own significance, but they jointly create a beautiful rainbow.
„In a plastic and important way we tell children about coexistence. You could see that the play kept their attention; they were entertained, but also learned something, not only about coexistence but also about some other things including counting, colors, number of continents, hours in a day... We have visited many schools in BiH within the projects supported by UNICEF, and children were equally thrilled in all those schools. We were delighted with their reactions and the way they accepted us and our performances“, actor Ljubiša Vasić told us after the play.
Teacher Emilija Relota could not hide her enthusiasm. She had been inspired by previous plays to initiate a small acting group.
„Such performances are the most appropriate way of learning for children, because they learn through the play. Look how happy and delighted they are! Since the last play the students of my class have been absolutely amazed by acting performance. We are now using a part of the script from Genesis and UNICEF but we keep providing new scripts. After the Christmas holidays, when we removing Christmas decorations, paper trees and other equipment from the school, the children said, „Don't throw them away, leave them to us, we will need them for our plays“, teacher Emilija told us and invited us to watch a short performance prepared by her students of the second grade of the nine-year curriculum for primary school.
Boys from the little acting group were happy to show us a puppet play about two butterflies made by the children from their class, and we were equally thrilled with their performance, particularly because it involved sever-year old children. Teacher Emilija was full of wishes and plans and she is hoping that her little acting group will soon be even better. An acting „seed” brought by the Genesis and UNICEF into this school has obviously found some fertile land!
Written by: Almir Panjeta