The Voices of Children at War
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A PERFORMANCE ACTIVITY

OVERVIEW
In the form of a dramatic presentation, participants read aloud the words of child soldiers, their parents and rehabilitation workers.

MATERIALS
Copies of the script for each reader.

To the Teacher:
This activity can be performed in a classroom, or at a school assembly or other gatherings. It requires little rehearsal, though participants need time to read through their parts and to understand clearly when it is their turn to speak. Encourage all participants to speak slowly and loudly, especially if they are performing outside or for a large audience. Especially those reading the parts of child soldiers must understand the importance of speaking with respect and dignity of behalf of these young people.When planning this performance, be aware that many students will respond strongly to this emotional and often brutal content. Plan some form of debriefing to follow the performance that will allow students to express their reactions. It might be in the form of small group discussions, action planning meetings, or other form of activity.
NB: The actual quotations are indicated in italics.

CAST

Principal Reader: The Principal Reader introduces the topic and concludes with a summary and exhortation to action. This might be a student leader or a teacher who can lead a follow-up discussion about what action to take after the performance.

4 Stage Readers: The Stage Readers stand or sit on a stage or at the front of the room. Alternatively, they could stand at the center of an audience seated in a circle around them. Because much of their parts are question and answer, they should address each other as well as the audience. Stage Reader #1 asks most of the questions. Try to have a balance between boys and girls as Stage Readers.

Audience Readers: There could be as many as 45 readers, each reading a separate part (One child, B from Uganda, speaks twice) or a team of readers who read several parts. The Audience Readers sit among the audience; groups who read in succession might sit together. Those reading responses to the same topic might be seated together in order to cue each other. When each has a part to read, he or she stands, announcing the name of the child soldier and the child's home country. Try to have a balance between boys and girls as Audience Readers. Students do not necessarily have to be the same sex as the child they are representing.


Continue to the Performance Activity.

Illustration: Felicity O. Yost. Source: Marie, In the Shadow of the Lion, by Jerry Piasecki. © United Nations, 2001