International students from countries like Mongolia, Vietnam, Russia, Mexico, Syria and Iran will appear in the musical Hair performed by the university theatre. The iconic musical means more for the company than ever, as many of the actors and actresses can personally relate to war. Hair will be presented at oDEon on 23 October.
A few months ago, Hair received a great applause at oDEon. Many of the international students in the company participate to protest against war due to personal reasons. They do not “just” play. They shout loud on the stage. According to Veronika Végh, head of oDEon, history has made the Broadway musical timely, once again.
- This performance will be much deeper, as many of our actors and actresses are personally affected by war. This is one of the best musicals with lessons to learn for a lifetime, with messages that have an impact on people, and is about freedom and youth. Our aim is to protest against war with what we have. By playing, we want to channel our frustration, fear and sorrow. The young people on the stage can get relief by expressing their feelings and transferring emotions that can be rarely seen on a stage. In the scene when the crowd protests against war, the actors and actresses shout shockingly, expressing unbelievably strong emotions – said Veronika Végh at the rehearsal of the musical.
Erfan Amini Masouleh, an Iranian student of the Faculty of Dentistry who also appeared in the last performance, plays the leading role now. He said that the musical has given him experiences for a lifetime, and an opportunity to do something against war.
- As a musician, I can use my skills in the play. Like the first performance, this show will be a major event for the international student community. I came here six years ago from Iran. I am far away from my home, but I have found an accepting community and a highly multicultural environment here. The musical Hair is important for all of us. Our countries may wage war against each other, but on stage we are equal, we can stand up for each other and protest against war together. My country has had a fair share of war experience in the last 50 years, many people have died. And I could not do anything against it. But now, on the university stage I can make my voice heard and protest against war – said the Iranian student.
Nina Nikolayeva, who works for the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Faculty of Humanities as a native reviewer, will also act in the play. She is from Russia, so she can relate to the message of the musical. She feels that she can be really herself on stage.
- This is the first time that I can act in an English-language play and put myself to the test. This is a musical that has a strong meaning these days, performed on a stage where we can express our thoughts and feelings. I am very glad to have met people who love arts, acting and music. In this community I can be myself. I see Debrecen and the university as my second home – she added.
Tho-Quang Nguyen, who is of Vietnam origin and from the UK, will also act in the play. The student of the Faculty of Medicine can also relate to the message of the musical, as his uncle fought in the Vietnam war.
- It was a disaster for my family. My father moved to the UK because of the war, but my uncle fought as a soldier of the US military. By acting on the stage of the oDEon, I will commemorate him. Pacifism and promoting peace are important for me, because I am directly affected. I am happy to be part of a community that supports and represents these values – said Tho-Quang Nguyen.
The musical Hair with the new cast will be presented at the oDEon on 23 October, at 7 pm.