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The power of theatre on cast and audience

Hawra’a Ibrahim on navigating the emotional landscape of acting and delivering powerful social messages while staying detached

"Theatre is a powerful tool for enlightenment and societal change,” said theatre instructor Hawra’a Ibrahim during an interview with Kuwait Times. She discussed the balance between the profound societal impact actors wield through their performances and the necessity of detachment from the characters they portray onstage.

Ibrahim echoed the sentiments of many in the performing arts. “When you take your time in performing the personality you’re acting, and you understand that these personalities you’re performing on stage are for the benefit of society, you realize that theatre is more than just entertainment. It’s a message. If I am performing a villain’s part, I am not becoming a villain, but I put in my mind that I am performing this character to deliver a message to the people, in order to raise awareness of such characters.”

The journey of an actor extends beyond the confines of the stage, as Ibrahim elaborated: “An actor cannot be completely detached from the character they are performing. However, a good actor must be aware of the cause behind acting in a certain role and be able to overcome deep instances of acting within a short period post-play.”

Ibrahim highlighted the significance of psychological detachment as an essential skill for actors navigating the emotional terrain of their roles. “Actors should be careful with accepting certain character performances and be honest with themselves about their level of maturity and emotional capability of detaching later on,” she advised.

Ibrahim also emphasized the importance of academic study in theater, particularly in understanding the psychological underpinnings of performance. “Studying theater academically is very important, especially for such instances as it could get to one’s psyche.” Through academic exploration, actors gain invaluable insights into the stages that facilitate emotional stability post-performance, ensuring a harmonious balance between artistic immersion and personal detachment.

“I once performed as a bad person on stage and received backlash from the public. This is where my emphasis on studying drama in a professional and academic way comes from. At the time, I was capable of detaching myself from the character and was able to respond to the public’s questioning and criticism,” Ibrahim pointed out.

As actors step into the spotlight, they carry with them not only the weight of their characters but also the profound responsibility of shaping hearts and minds, provoking thoughts and promoting critical thinking.

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