Slave Reenactment and Hairspray

This week started off rough for me, as I was sick for a couple of days. I could not attend Art Camp much. There was a lot going on for me because I was not in the right state of mind. I was going through some issues relating to back home in Nepal and on top of that, the sickness was causing difficulties. It was really putting me down and I could not participate in a lot of things. The members of the foundation were really helpful to me at this time. They offered to talk to me and help me get out of this situation. This really caught my heart because they were very supportive and sympathizing. This is one of the reasons why I love everyone in the foundation. Being around their kind and accepting family like community really helped me feel better a lot sooner.

Other than that, the week has been really interesting and exciting. I was able to do the Slave Reenactment this week. A lady who had been doing the reenactments for tourists in Selma was kind enough to let us do it privately in a group. The people who had done it before told us that it something you must experience therefore the other interns and I were very anxious to do it. When we reached there, the lady immediately started playing her role as a Slave Master and started calling us the “N” word. She treated us like slaves with verbal abuse imitating what happened in the past. Physical harm was not done although she did carry a huge stick with her to represent power and authority. The point of the reenactment was to make us go through the similar experience the slaves went through in the past. It was amazing how this lady could play various roles and make the experience so realistic. I felt very disturbed and had tears coming out of my eyes when the reenactment was over. In the end, she debriefed us on what the point of the whole reenactment was. It really was a great experience to go through this. It felt like I was living a part of history for a brief moment.

At the end of the week, we did the show “Hairspray” in a theatre in a local Selma Community College. It was very exciting to witness all the people who came to the show. It was almost a full house. The kids, some of the members of the foundation and some of the interns had been rehearsing for this musical throughout the summer and had been working really hard. Every time we had RATCO rehearsals, this is what we were preparing for. It all paid off in the end. The show was a success! I know I haven’t mentioned about Hairspray in my previous blogs but I wanted to save the best for last. I wanted to put it in here as a little surprise. The show really was fantastic and I wish everyone reading my blog was able to witness it for real. I almost started to drop tears when I was watching the final product of the show. It was conducted beautifully. To be able to see kids who had been going through hardship in everyday life be able to perform on stage and express themselves was truly phenomenal. I really felt like I achieved something big after coming down here to Selma.

Karan Shrestha ’18