Mihaela Dragan’s Del Duma
by Alison Mackie on Feb 8, 2013 (The Gypsy Chronicles)
“Theatre is magic… it has the power to reach people’s souls.” Mihaela Dragan
Mihaela Dragan Playwright / actress Mihaela Dragan is passionate about two things: Theatre and the issue of racial discrimination. She merges the two using theatre as a tool to influence change in society. Her one woman show called “Del Duma, Vorbeste-le despre mine” translation: Speak to them about me – is about Roma identity.
Through the stories of four women, her play invites the audience to think critically, find the lesson and examine their place in society. “Theatre is magic… it has the power to reach people’s souls,” says Mihaela, adding, “at the same time, through this show I want to send a message to Roma people to encourage their children’s education and change the role of women in society.”
Mihaela Dragan Being half Roma Mihaela Dragan has witnessed the effects of discrimination against Roma in her country: “It is my duty to fight intolerance, automatic prejudices, lack of equal opportunities, low self esteem, public disclaimer of Roma identity, abandonment of education, and – maybe this will sound strange – the most dangerous is “behavioural programming.”
If a strongly held belief about the Roma is declared as truth when it is actually false, the belief can influence a negative self concept – “I think that in a society in which the general opinion about your ethnicity is a bad one, one can be unconsciously “programmed” …. Of course, I know how difficult is this fight…but it’s my mission and I have the theater as my weapon.”
Mihaela Dragan Del duma tells the real life stories of four Roma women: “One of them is my personal story – a woman who didn’t live in a traditional Romany family but is trying to assume this identity, the second story in the play is about an intellectual woman who at the same time, belongs to a traditional family.
The third is the sad story of a young woman who died, she is the typical typology of traditional Romany woman who is pushed to get married around 13-16 years old and abandon school, the fourth is a 26-year-old woman who, since she was 16 years old, has been struggling with her family trying to escape getting married and has to hide that she goes to school.
Mihaela Dragan Each character in the play sings and dances in the traditional Roma way, expressing what it means to be a Roma, talking about experiences of discrimination, the importance of education, about marriage and love. “The world needs to heal the racism and evolve towards love. We can’t love until we accept each other. Love means evolution – this is the purpose of humanity.” Two of the stories in the play were obtained by interviewing the women directly.
Theatre’s role in society around the world reflects social changes – and often influences them. Mihaela Dragan: “… I want people to know about the life of Roma, and our traditions from an interior perspective, about our difficulties and the problem of stigma which follows us in society.” To further public discourse each performance is followed by a discussion with the audience and Mihaela hopes to bring Del Duma to as many cities as possible for maximum impact: “I want that people who will see this show to give up discriminating others, to understand that we are all the same and that love is the most precious thing we have.”