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Sabeena Ahmed - Playwright Course and Recitals with Alex Broun at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2019

Sabeena Ahmed - Playwright Course and Recitals with Alex Broun at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2019

Playwright Course and Readings with Alex Broun

Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2019

 

Sabeena Ahmed and Brenda, Twisha, Ashwariya, Padmini, Deborah, Julia celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight Dubai 2019, UAE

Sabeena Ahmed with Brenda, Tvisha, Ashwarya, Padmini, Edwige, Deborah, Julia celebrating Fairtrade Fortnight Dubai 2019, UAE

 

INTRODUCTION

This year I decided to fulfill some long overdue ambitions and enrolled on a

play writing course.

My play was a collection of seven scenes highlighting experiences of discrimination, acceptance and love.

I'm passionate that BAME voices are heard on the international scene and this was my attempt to initiate a healthy dialogue about race, religion, misconceptions, acceptance and love.

I am grateful to Alex Broun, my peers and the Emirates Literature Foundation for guiding and supporting my work.

I wish all the ladies phenomenal success with their plays and writing.

 

 

 

Playwright Course and Readings with Alex Broun Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2019 l-r Brenda, Tvisha, Ashwarya, Padmini, Edwige, Deborah and Julia with Sabeena Ahmed celebrating Fairtrade Fortnight 2019 Dubai UAE 

Many thanks to Brenda, Tvisha, Ashwarya, Padmini, Edwige, Deborah, Julia and Andrea for their love and support on this beautiful journey.

 

Play writing Course with Alex Broun and the Emirates Festival of Literature 2019 Dubai UAE - Sabeena Ahmed

Edwige at the Play writing Course with Alex Broun and the

Emirates Festival of Literature 2019 Dubai UAE

 

Play writing Course with Alex Broun and the Emirates Festival of Literature 2019 Dubai UAE

Tvisha, Ashwarya, Padmini and Julia at the

Play writing Course with Alex Broun and the

Emirates Festival of Literature 2019 Dubai UAE

 

Play writing Course with Alex Broun and the Emirates Festival of Literature 2019 Dubai UAE

Deborah, Brenda and Edwige a the

Play writing Course with Alex Broun and the

Emirates Festival of Literature 2019 Dubai UAE

 

Play writing Course with Alex Broun and the Emirates Festival of Literature 2019 Dubai UAE

 Playright Alex Broun

at the

Emirates Festival of Literature 2019 Dubai UAE

 

 

INTRODUCTION AND

SCENES FIVE, SIX AND SEVEN 

Sabeena talks to the audience

Sabeena: My name is Sabeena and I’m trying to be a kinder and compassionate human being.

I'm a fair trade campaigner, educator and social entrepreneur.

Over the years I have encountered discrimination, criticism, total acceptance and love.

I’d like to share my experiences to promote a healthy dialogue, empathy and tolerance.

As a person of colour, I believe we shouldn't be labelled and stereotyped by our appearance, our beliefs, our command of the English language and the preservation of our beautiful cultures and traditions.

I’d like to be recognized for my passion, dedication and strength.

 

Scene Five - Evening Discussion

The scenes below were recited by all the wonderful ladies.  

 

Scene Five

Evening Discussion

Characters

Mario

Robert

Sabeena

Robert  is using his Smartphone

Sabeena is working on her presentation quietly

Mario is intoxicated and approaches S

 

Mario: Sabeena, I know there are thousands of women who are forced to wear the veil, the niqaab.

Sabeena: Turns her head to listen

Mario: I read that thousands of Afghan women are beaten and killed because they have to cover themselves. You have a huge problem with honour killings.

Sabeena: I have to disagree, I’ve never been pressurized. What do you mean, I have a problem?

If you care to conduct some research you’ll discover that the niqaab is cultural.

There is NO compulsion in Islam.

Mario: Why are Muslim ladies forced to wear the niqaab?

I hate it! It’s so degrading!

Robert joins the conversation

Robert: I think it’s beautiful that Sabeena covers up.

Mario (SCOFFS LOUDLY AND SNIGGERS LOUDLY)

Whaaaat! It’s horrible!

Robert: I’d like my wife to dress modestly.

Mario: (SCOFFS and SNORTS LOUDLY the looks at Sabeena up and down).

Are you serious? I’d hate my wife covering up. Everything is hidden.

Robert: Precisely! I would rather my wife covered up then reveal herself in public.

Mario: HA HA HA!

Ridiculous, I want to see some flesh.

Sabeena: Talks to the audience

I’d been insulted and humiliated. I just wanted to leave.

How could someone in such a senior role and position be SO IGNORANT?

It was Ramadan, I was tired, I’d been fasting , the subject of oppressed Muslim women was the last thing I wanted to hear before I retired for bed.

Mario knew nothing my background, my struggles, my hopes and dreams.

I was infuriated, but, kept my cool.

I patiently listened and quickly finished my Prezzi Presentation.

Mario continues his tirade against Muslim women. He drinks some more and slurs his words as he speaks.

Mario: I’ve read thousands of Muslim girls are forced to wear the niqaab.

It’s difficult for them to study and have a career or marry a man of their choice.

Sabeena: The niqaab is cultural, it is not mandatory to cover the face.

I know many single and happily married professional Muslim women who observe the niqaab and hijab.

The next time you visit Dubai, I’d be delighted to introduce you to them.

Out of curiosity how many Muslim friends do you know?

Mario: SNORTS and SLURS his words and ignores Sabeena’s question

But Muslim girls are very oppressed.

Sabeena: I’m a Muslim woman and I’m not oppressed. My husband supports and promotes my fair-trade activities.

Mario: But you’re a minority.

Sabeena: That’s all it takes, one person to be the change!

Robert: Ends the conversation. He can see the conversation has come full circle and Mario is repeating himself, upsetting Sabeena.

Robert: Well, we all have an early start at the conference tomorrow.

I’m heading up.

Sabeena: Yes! I’m exhausted too! I must rest. Good night!

Robert: Goodnight Sabeena

Mario: Goodnight

Sabeena: Talks to the audience

I’m so grateful Robert stood up for me that evening but what I’ve learnt over the years is to ignore and distance myself from negative people.

I can resonate with the quote by Mandy Hale.

‘The less you respond, to rude, critical and argumentative people, the more peaceful your life will become.’

And

‘I WILL NOT APOLOGISE FOR WHO I AM!’

 

Scene Six - Doctor Doctor!

Scene Six

Doctor Doctor

Characters

Dr A

Sabeena

Sabeena walks into the doctors room

Dr A is looking at her notes

 

Dr A: Hello Sabeena, How are you?

Sabeena: Hello Doctor, I’ve not been feeling very well?

Dr: What’s the matter?

Sabeena: I’ve been rather lethargic , low energy levels, I’m not feeling my usual self.

Dr: MMM! I can see you have Beta thalaseamia minor, I’d like to send you for some blood tests?

Are you sleeping, eating well?

Sabeena: No! Not really.

Dr: Why?

Sabeena: My mother passed away from metastatic breast  cancer earlier this year. I’ve found the grieving process rather difficult to handle.

Dr: When did your mother pass away?

Sabeena: April

Dr: Is cold, un-empathetic and outspoken

Dr: Well you should be over it by now?

Sabeena: Is gob smacked and dumbstruck by the Doctors awful response, holding back tears

S: I’m sorry what do you mean?

Dr: Well, it has been six months, most people grieve for a maximum of 3.

 

Sabeena: Talks to the audience

Sabeena: I really wanted to shout at her.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry?

I’d spent the past 4 years of my life caring for my terminally ill mother and this is all the

EMPATHY and SUPPORT I got. Oh for heaven’s sake!  Please go and get some bereavement training.

Sabeena: The conversation continues

Sabeena: Are both your parents alive Doctor?

Dr: Yes!

Sabeena: Is fuming but gritting her teeth

Sabeena: Well I’m grieving both of mine. How could you possibly understand what I’m going through?

Dr: Is not listening and ignores Sabeena

Dr: Would you like some anti-depressants to help you sleep?

Sabeena: No! I don’t want to be dependent on any medication thank you!

Dr: Okay! Would you like to see a bereavement counselor?

Sabeena: No thank you, I had a horrible experience at university.

Sabeena: Waiting for any apology that never comes and decides to leave.

Dr: Think about it?

Sabeena: Okay! I will. I must go, I have an appointment with God. Afternoon prayers.  Bye!

Dr: Bye Sabeena. I’ll call you if I find any suitable counselors.

Sabeena: Talks the audience

I was so disappointed and upset at this Doctors un-supportive response. 

When I got home I remembered the dialogue from Erin Brockovich and chuckled to myself.

 ‘Do they teach doctors how to apologise, cos you suck at it?’

 

 

Last Scene - Bunny Love

 

Scene Seven

Bunny Love

Characters

Helen

Sabeena

Nicola

Nursery Teacher

 

Sabeena is crying and a kind nursery teacher is trying to console her

Sabeena: I want my Mummy! Where’s my Mummy? I want my Mummy!

Nursery Teacher: Now, now Sabeena. Mummy will be back soon. Come and have a look at these lovely toys?

Sabeena is still crying

Sabeena: I want to go home! I want my Mummy! I don’t like it here!

Nursery Teacher: Look! I’m building a sandcastle, would you like to build a sandcastle?

Sabeena: Walks over to the sand pit with tear stained cheeks.

Sabeena: Crying loudly

Sabeena: Where’s my Mummy?, Why did she leave me?

Nicola and Helen are playing with a large brown fluffy rabbit, they walk over to Sabeena.

Nicola: Don’t cry! Your Mummy will be back soon.

Helen: Yes! Don’t cry! My Mummy left me and I’m not crying.

Nicola: Do you want to stroke my bunny?

Sabeena: Nods her head in agreement and strokes the bunny

Nicola: I’m Nicola! What’s your name?

Sabeena: Sabeena!

Helen: I’m Helen!

Sabeena: I like your bunny.  It’s soft.

Nicola: He’s heavy.

Nicola: Do you want to be my friend?

Sabeena: Yes!

Helen: Do you want to be my friend as well?

Sabeena: Yes!

Sabeena: Can I hold it tomorrow?

Nicola and Helen : YES! It’s a He and he’s called Chocolate.

Sabeena: MY BEST FRIENDS!

All three laugh and giggle loudly and play with Chocolate until they go home.

Helen and Sabeena have been friends for 40 years and Helen always refers to Sabeena as ‘Sabby.’

Sabeena: Talks to the audience

Sabeena: I wanted to end on one of the happiest moments of my life.

There’s a beautiful magical innocence about children accepting of one another without fear or prejudice, sadly, these characteristics fade as we grow older.

This is the year of tolerance and I hope we can all learn to celebrate our differences, respect one another, choose kindness and compassion and eat more fair-trade chocolate.

As for me I hope to laugh more, spend quality time with my loved ones, fulfill long overdue ambitions and travel.

Thank you for listening.

Love, peace and blessings

Sabeena

  

 

The Emirates Festival of Literature 2019 

Play writing Course with Alex Broun and the Emirates Literature Foundation 

Recitals  3/9/2019 at

The Emirates Festival of Literature 2019

This March my play was performed at the Emirates Literature Foundation.

Recitals of our plays were performed by actors Saturday 9th March 2019.

Many thanks to all the actors, audience and family members who performed and attended.

 

Videos

Sadly, due to technical difficulties I couldn't record all my scenes.

I'm grateful to Edwige for forwarding the following videos.

 

INTRODUCTION AND

SCENES ONE, THREE AND SEVEN  

Introduction

 

Sabeena talks to the audience

Sabeena: My name is Sabeena and I’m trying to be a kinder and compassionate human being.

I'm a fair trade campaigner, educator and social entrepreneur.

Over the years I have encountered discrimination, criticism, total acceptance and love.

I’d like to share my experiences to promote a healthy dialogue, empathy and tolerance.

As a person of colour, I believe we shouldn't be labelled and stereotyped by our appearance, our beliefs, our command of the English language and the preservation of our beautiful cultures and traditions.

I’d like to be recognized for my passion, dedication and strength.

 

Scene 1

 

Scene One

The Careers Office

Characters

Careers Officer

Sabeena

 

Sabeena knocks on the career office door

Careers Officer: Come In!  Take a seat, its Sabeena right?

Sabeena: Yes, Thank you!

Careers OfficerShuffling of papers

Careers Officer: What do you want do when you leave school?

Sabeena: I want to be a forensic scientist.

Careers Officer: Big Sighs

Careers Officer: I’ve had a look at your predicted grades.

You don’t have the grades required to study sciences. Have you thought about BTEC courses?

Sabeena: No!

Careers Officer: Maybe you should think about applying for a BTEC in Childcare, Fashion or Business?

Sabeena: Disappointed

Sabeena: I want to be a forensic scientist.

Careers Officer: Why?

 

Sabeena: I’ve always been fascinated by the subject ever since the Police visited my old primary school and talked about criminology and forensics.

Careers Officer: Do you know the meaning of forensics?

Sabeena: Yes! It’s the study of crime scenes, dna and investigating the death of people from unusual circumstances.

Careers Officer: Ignores Sabeena and responds in cold uninspiring voice

Careers Officer: Your predicated grades for Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths, are B’s and C’s.You will struggle at A-level.

I seriously think you should re-consider your options.

Think about what I’ve said and let’s arrange another appointment to discuss your decision next month?

Sabeena: Bigger sighs

Sabeena: Okay!

Sabeena leaves the Careers Office heavy hearted and despondent

Sabeena: Talks to the audience

Sabeena: If I could travel back in time I would have said the following to the Careers Officer with a big smile on my face.

Thank you for your time and recommendations, however, I’m determined to qualify as a forensic scientist. I’ll take my chances and a take a leap of faith.

 ‘be an encourager the world has plenty of critics already.’

Goodbye! :)

 

Scene 3

 

Scene Three

Fairtrade Café

Characters

JJ

Bee

Sabeena

Bee and JJ are sitting at a table waiting for Sabeena.  Sabeena Arrives and removes her niqaab.

Bee: Hello!

JJ: Hi!

Sabeena: Hello ladies! I’m Sabeena. Lovely to meet you. What would you like to drink?

Bee: A black coffee.

JJ: A café latte please?

Sabeena: Calls the waiter

Sabeena: Could we have a black coffee, a café latte and an English Breakfast tea with hot milk please?

The ladies sit down.

JJ: Thank you for meeting us at such notice.

Sabeena: No problem, it’s my pleasure.

I’m so pleased the American Women’s Association has taken an interest to support my fair-trade work.

Bee stares at Sabeena and talks angrily

 

Bee: You KILLED 3000 people on 9/11.

JJ: No response

Sabeena: Is taken aback but intrigued to learn more.

Bee: Raises her voice

YES! You people killed thousands on 9/11.

Angrily continues her voice rising

Bee: You MURDERED them!

Sabeena: What ME, Personally?

Sabeena: Is more intrigued

Bee: YES, YOU!

Sabeena: Talks to the audience

At this point I wanted to make a sharp exit. This isn’t the coffee morning I had in mind. Lord, give me strength!

Bee continues almost snarling

Bee: You people think you can get away with it! You destroyed thousands of lives.

You cause destruction and misery wherever you go.

JJ: Is listening intently but does not interrupt or stop her friend from speaking

Bee: Why are Muslim women always oppressed?

She stares at Sabeena’s hijab and abaya with disdain and disapproval.

You’re so oppressed and subjugated. You have to ask permission for WORK, RECREATION, TRAVEL AND WEAR CLOTHES.

It’s so depressing and a sorry state of affairs.


The atmosphere is heavy and toxic

Bee continues her monologue in an angry voice

Bee: Why do you always wear black? Why do you cover your faces? It’s so humiliating.

I could never do that. Why can’t you show your faces?

ISLAM IS SO RESTRICTIVE, MEN CONTROL WOMEN!!!

JJ: Makes no attempt to stop Bee from talking.

Sabeena: Talks to the audience

I wanted to run for the hills.

I was surprised and confused why JJ made no attempt to diffuse the situation.

Is Bee ever going to let me speak?

I didn’t sign up for this?

The conversation continues, Bee continues to vent her anger

Bee: We invited Muslim women to a coffee morning so that we could improve inter-faith dialogue and strengthen relationships.

The ladies just sat and ignored us. They made no attempt to speak or interact.

Bee: Rolls her eyes

IT WAS A DISASTER!

Sabeena: Talks to the audience

I thought I was being Punked?

I had to do something fast, I had to calm this lady down.

I took a deep breath and thought, You can do this Sabeena,

be brave, be strong, believe in yourself. You can turn this around.

Sabeena begins to talk clearly and calmly.

I was born and educated in Manchester.

I speak fluent English, Urdu and a little French.

I was an ESOL practitioner in London.

I taught Beginners English to asylum speakers and refugees.

I can introduce you to friends who are highly qualified professionals, articulate, and who observe the hijab and niqaab.

Would you be interested to meet them?

I’d be delighted to visit the American Women’s Association and talk about fair-trade.

Maybe, you’d like to become fair-trade suporter?

Bee: Listening intently, a little shocked by Sabeena’s statements and questions.

Bee: Okay!

JJ: You were a little a little harsh Bee.

Bee: Is silent but no makes no apology

Sabeena A waiter arrives with hot beverages and cakes.

Sabeena: Talks to the audience

I was relieved but emotionally drained. I needed a good fair-trade brew (cup of tea).

Sabeena: Here you are ladies.

The three eat/drink in eerie silence. JJ breaks the silence.

JJ: Well, it’s been lovely meeting you Sabeena.

Bee: We’d like to see your fair-trade products?

JJ: Would it be okay if we brought a few ladies over to your apartment next week to purchase some fair-trade products?

S: Yes, Absolutely! It would be my pleasure.

S: Talks to audience

Sabeena: I’ve never been so happy and relieved to go home.

The following week a group of 8 ladies visit Sabeena’s apartment and purchase fair-trade products.

  

Last Scene

Sabeena: I wanted to end on one of the happiest moments of my life.

There’s a beautiful magical innocence about children accepting of one another without fear or prejudice, sadly, these characteristics fade as we grow older.

This is the year of tolerance and I hope we can all learn to celebrate our differences, respect one another, choose kindness and compassion and eat more fair-trade chocolate.

As for me I hope to laugh more, spend quality time with my loved ones, fulfill long overdue ambitions and travel.

Thank you for listening.

Love, peace and blessings

Sabeena

 

Gallery 

Sabeena Ahmed, Deborah, Padmini, Brenda, Edwige, Tvisha, Ashwarya, Julia and Alex Broun, new playwrights at the Emirates Literature Festival March 2019 Dubai UAE

Ashwarya one of the youngest playwrights

 

Sabeena Ahmed, Deborah, Padmini, Brenda, Edwige, Tvisha, Ashwarya, Julia and Alex Broun, new playwrights at the Emirates Literature Festival March 2019 Dubai UAE

Ashwarya, Tvisha and Padmini

 

Sabeena Ahmed, Deborah, Padmini, Brenda, Edwige, Tvisha, Ashwarya, Julia and Alex Broun, new playwrights at the Emirates Literature Festival March 2019 Dubai UAE

Edwige and Sabeena

 

Sabeena Ahmed, Deborah, Padmini, Brenda, Edwige, Tvisha, Ashwarya, Julia and Alex Broun, new playwrights at the Emirates Literature Festival March 2019 Dubai UAE

Deborah and Andrea

 

Sabeena Ahmed, Deborah, Padmini, Brenda, Edwige, Tvisha, Ashwarya, Julia and Alex Broun, new playwrights at the Emirates Literature Festival March 2019 Dubai UAE

Julia, Tvisha, Padmini and friend

 

 Sabeena Ahmed, Deborah, Padmini, Brenda, Edwige, Tvisha, Ashwarya, Julia and Alex Broun, new playwrights at the Emirates Literature Festival March 2019 Dubai UAE

Actors performing the plays with Alex Broun

 

Sabeena Ahmed, Deborah, Padmini, Brenda, Edwige, Tvisha, Ashwarya, Julia and Alex Broun, new playwrights at the Emirates Literature Festival March 2019 Dubai UAE

Sabeena perfoming Ashwarya's play with other actors 

 

Sabeena Ahmed, Deborah, Padmini, Brenda, Edwige, Tvisha, Ashwarya, Julia and Alex Broun, new playwrights at the Emirates Literature Festival March 2019 Dubai UAE

Actors performing the plays

 

Sabeena Ahmed, Deborah, Padmini, Brenda, Edwige, Tvisha, Ashwarya, Julia and Alex Broun, new playwrights at the Emirates Literature Festival March 2019 Dubai UAE

The happy playwright group

 

Sabeena Ahmed, Deborah, Padmini, Brenda, Edwige, Tvisha, Ashwarya, Julia and Alex Broun, new playwrights at the Emirates Literature Festival March 2019 Dubai UAE

Playwrights with Alex Broun

 

Sabeena Ahmed, Deborah, Padmini, Brenda, Edwige, Tvisha, Ashwarya, Julia and Alex Broun, new playwrights at the Emirates Literature Festival March 2019 Dubai UAE

Sabeena Ahmed, Deborah, Padmini, Brenda, Edwige, Tvisha, Ashwarya, Julia and Alex Broun, new playwrights at

the Emirates Literature Festival March 2019 Dubai UAE

 

Further Reading and Links

 

Alex Broun

The Emirates Festival of Literature 

 




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