Abba musical in Doha

Stafford Sri Lankan School brings Sweden's favourite musical export to Qatar

Abba musical in Doha
Abba musical in Doha Image #2

Director Mary Jayaweera tells us what to expect from Sophie's Story.

What is the play?

The play is an adaptation of the hit musical Mamma Mia. The plot is more or less the same, a daughter in search of her father. We are following the same script with slights changes to characters and scenes. We have adapted it to suit our audience and thereby made it somewhat original. Our version of the play is called Sophie’s Story as we wish to focus on a daughter’s ultimate quest, her determination to reunite her family and also highlight the bond between family members that is almost ever present.

Who is involved?
The entire school is involved! Stafford Sri Lankan School, Doha recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and we are growing at a rapid pace. The cast consists of over 60 students and the entire staff will function as crew. The members belong to the school’s theatre society known as Theatre Circle. This is a play in which each and every member of the school including parents and well-wishers are involved.

Why this play?
A lot of ideas were tossed about prior to selecting this particular script. This will be the second time that Stafford Sri Lankan School goes on stage, the debut play being an adaptation of Beauty and the Beast in 2010. Instead of selecting another fairy tale, we wanted to go for a play that was modern with a touch of realism and light-hearted, full of music and dance. What better play other than a script full of the melodies of ABBA! And so we settled for Mamma Mia, the musical.

What makes this show special?

This production is special because the students are very much involved in choreographing the dance routines and incorporating their own ideas to make it a success. Some of the students are going on stage for the first time and so it becomes a special moment for all of us. Even though this is our second production, this time we are doing it on a grander scale and staging it at the Qatar National Convention Centre. The value of this play is immeasurable as the cast together with the crew consisting of all the staff members have been preparing for this as one big family.

What’s the cast like? They’re all kids from the school right?
The cast consists of students from Year 3 to AS Level. Auditions were cast about a month prior to the commencement of rehearsals in January. We have put together a dynamic lot. We do have several students who are multi-talented however, what is most encouraging is that they are willing to learn, be it dancing or singing or both at the same time. Their enthusiasm and liveliness is inspiring and motivating. This is a great group of students.

What’s been your favourite part of putting it together?
It hasn’t been an easy task for any one of us, however watching the students improve day by day is a real treat! The effort seems worth it. They train hard but do have their share of fun which is healthy. At first they seem helpless but suddenly they bloom into beautiful performers who try to make you live every moment of the play. At the end of the day, we want to inculcate in them a passion towards theatre, enjoy the invaluable experience it offers and love the arts.

What’s been challenging about putting on this production?
Our production is a musical; this means dances, songs and of course the acting. We want the cast to use their full potential and so the production will have live singing. Combining all three elements to ultimately produce the perfect scenes is at times an overwhelming task. We have overcome the initial difficulties now it is just a matter of adding the final touch-ups and bringing the play together.

What’s your favourite part of the show?
I enjoy all of it but maybe it is the final dance act, the curtain call. The entire cast will be on stage to perform ‘Dancing Queen’ and I feel it is a fitting finale. Looking forward to it!
Sophie’s Story, and Adaptation of Mama Mia, the Musical, takes the stage on September 13 from 7pm-9pm at the Qatar National Convention Centre (Qatar Foundation). Tickets are QR150, QR100 and QR75, available at Stafford Sri Lankan School, Doha. Call 4469 4869 or check out TheatreCircle on Facebook.

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