"Bussy" (Look!) is a project intended to empower women and raise awareness about women's issues through creative means. All over the world there are plays about women based on their experiences of their womanhood. Women in Egypt wanted something culturally relevant and closer to home.
Three years ago the people who started the "Bussy" project had the idea to let people write for themselves instead of being written about. The idea turned into a flyer "If you have a story about yourself or a woman you know, please pick up a submission form and share it". And so it was that most women contributed their stories anonymously, while others were given the opportunity to be involved in the casting and directing. Some women shared their stories not for the purpose of sharing it with the public but for personal reasons. And for the first time in Egypt you find a performance written by the people.
This is the fourth year for the performance. Most of the actors have little if any experience in theatre, so it is clearly not an attempt for them to establish themselves as actors. But they chose a play so that they could reach a large body of people. They communicate the truth about women, just like they experienced it, by acting out situations, or reflections on situations, that happened to real women in real life.
The stories in the play touch on the widest range of experiences from women and men in the Egyptian community and every year they end up with more stories than they have time to share. The play talks about an array of topics such as sexual harassment, motherhood, child abuse, arranged marriages and honor crimes amongst others.
The "Bussy" project gives the audience a chance to share some of the most intimate and vulnerable moments of women in their society; which leads to better understanding and awareness of women's issues.
The project works with various organizations and with the American University in Cairo. They work very hard to put on a performance that celebrates women's triumphs, recognize their struggles and mobilize individuals to create positive change within their communities. Most importantly the "Bussy" project aims to give a voice to women who feel voiceless. Anyone who wants to can get involved by sharing their story.
"It's a different way of expressing women's issues" says Sondos Shabayek, one of the performers and directors of the play. "You get to show true women’s experiences uncensored with all the intimate details" she adds.
"Bussy" is a unique project "Nothing expresses women’s issues genuinely and honestly in Egypt except Bussy; we tell the stories as they are" said Sondos.
Everyone who is involved in the "Bussy" project believes in what they are doing without expecting anything in return. From the women who contribute their stories to the performers and directors they all aim to give women a voice. And they have indeed chosen a creative way of doing just that.
Instead of feminists in T.V. shows who keep talking about women’s rights in a way which probably no one would listen to, advocating a cause through art definitely gets a better feedback. Using creative means to push for social reform is needed, whether it is regarding women’s issues or any other issue for that matter.