The Missing Pot: A Somali Folktale

Saw this last night at the Three Rivers Arts Festival: “The Missing Pot: A New Somali Folktale in America.” The kids were inspiring and–somehow–didn’t seem self-conscious about acting out the deprivations they had suffered. Go see it (and donate to the Pittsburgh Refugee Center) through Wednesday.

From the Trib’s story about the play and the Somali refugees:

The nonprofit Pittsburgh Refugee Center helps refugees in the Pittsburgh area adjust to their new lives, said Khadra Mohamed, the center’s director.

For her, working with the refugee children is a priority. She described the play as a healing process for children who have been marginalized for most of their lives.

“They are children caught up in an ugly, adult world,” she said, “and no one has taken the time to explain things to them.”

So to create the play, they started by explaining their memories to each other. The teens gathered with the Playback company and used theater games as a tool to extract experiences from their pasts. Local playwright Tami Ryan used the material to write the script.

It is no small thing that these youths can participate in extracurricular activities like theater, Mohamed said.

Most are the oldest in families living beneath the poverty line in Lawrenceville; they are often expected to fulfill adult roles like cooking, cleaning and supervising younger family members in the home.

These chores come after a full day of school, where they may endure harassment and abuse from their classmates because of their language, skin color or their Muslim heritage, she said.


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