This blog documents the work - in - progress of Spring Awakening, a theatrical performance about adolescence in the context of contemporary Egypt.

Performance dates: 01. – 06.04.2010 Rawabet Theatre, Cairo / 09.,10.04.2010 Jesuit Centre, Alexandria.

January 22, 2010

WEEK 6 (17.11 - 23.11.2009)

Meeting Selim for the second time. Improvising Hänschen Rilow and reading parental guidebooks in Al-Azhar Park.

"We don´t study two hours before sleeping. We wake up early to prepare for the test. We have a good breakfast. We wear comfortable clothes. We relax at all before entering the test. We don´t think of anything that makes us not think of the test. After the test we don´t go and check our answers because it´s in the past now. We then think about the coming test. We relax between two tests. We can go and have some air. If we have some work to do in the house, we do it before the test. We don´t take any advice from people - we study and we relax.
And we can do an emergency plan: If everything bad happens, we say to ourselves that we can do it and we are confident. We´ll be a positive person and won´t think about bad things. Many presidents were like this. And they were good."

(video coming soon)


Second workshop at DSB Cairo. Reading Wedekind. Reenacting.

"Last time some of the girls felt offended by your improvisation exercises - they said it was rude and too direct." (Markus Schnakenberg, Teacher of DSB)

From 31 questionnaires, we receive 16 back. The rest of them forgets, refuses.

Some answers:

13. To whom do you tell your secrets?
14. Were you ever in love?
15. Do you think you know already everything about "producing babies"?

13. Friends, cousin, mother
14. Yes, but it never got serious
15. Yes, but it´s none of your business

13. Mostly my friends or class mates, but it happens that I don´t tell them to anyone.
14. I was 15
15. Yes. I´m already 16 and not a baby anymore. When I was younger, most things I got to know through friends. But a year ago we talked about it in detail in biology class.

14. too personal!

13. Nobody
14. Yes, but I was very young (11 years). The other one was nice but did have the same feelings.
15. Yes. My mother and additional information from the internet.

17. What would you avoid to not harm your reputation?

embrace a boy

with bad friends, drugs, alcohol. Leila you know it

drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, boyfriend, eye-catching clothes > showing a lot of naked skin, superficial with people, go to parties where alcohol is allowed, stab people in the back

What would you like to add, any comments?

more multiple choice questions, less questions with telling

Things are not always like they seem. Even though in Egypt one doesn´t talk in public about taboo subjects, they are being discussed within teenagers - in detail and continuously.

I just want to say that even though this paper is anonymous, one doesn´t have the courage to answer. (This was also here the case...)


6. favourite magazine (arabic)
7. favourite music (arabic)
8. favourite movie (arabic)
9. favourite TV show (arabic)


Joining theatre group rehearsal at Jesuit School (Collège de la Sainte-Famille). Group consists of boys from 8th to 10th grade. School coordinator rejects the idea of having a collaborative workshop for the preparation of Spring Awakening. Reason: Boys too young for content. Maybe some of the 11th grade students.


Meeting Fatma (15), Hanan (15) and Lamya (16). All young actresses. Reading Wedekind and going through content of 8th grade biology books. When asked to describe any subject related to reproduction, one refuses and instead talks of molecules and atoms.

"Before you marry, you need to have a medical check up. There could be little deseases hidden in your genes. This has to be prevented, especially if it´s marriage between relatives. Also before you marry you must have gone through puperty completely."

"During pregnancy she should not smoke. It has a negative effect on the baby. Or might cause a failed birth. Or maybe not get pregnant at all."

Fatma, Hanan, Lamya

(video coming soon)


Meeting Hwaa Irfan, managing editor of the Family and Cyber Counselor Pages at Islam Within the family counselling, parents from different parts of the world receive answers to their questions.

"He is 10 years old and likes to imitate the sex movies he watches with his classmates like kissing and hugging in a very weird behaviour. I talked him several times but I don´t know how to convince him that this is not an Islamic behaviour."

"If a teenager wants to talk to his/her parents about their sexual life, how would they talk about it if the parent(s) never mentioned it ot talked about it normally?"

In an article on regarding the need of sexual education, she states:
"We are being told in no uncertain terms; that we all have to live our lives in a certain way, and that way is being dictated to by those who have lost the power to govern/advise others with wisdom and foresight. Is it with foresight that our children are being told how to perceive their own sexuality, or is it just another brick in the foundation of ethics and values being removed to make way for secular governance over the bodies of generations to come? Sex education is just one such method, and the societal impact may be felt for some time to come."

Yet when meeting her personally, she explains:

"Be aware of the different definitions (and needs) of sexual education in regard to the muslim and the western world. The relation to body, beginning of puperty and islamic teaching of adolescent can not be generalized in an educational programm suggested by western institutions."

Some months earlier this year: UN releases the International Guidelines on Sexuality Education: An evidence informed approach to effective sex, relationships and HIV/STI education. (June 2009) Its illustrations fueled the discussions on the implementation of western standards alike.

No comments: