Meet the Cast : Bilal Hafda – Take Two: A Comedy of Errors

August 26, 2019

Why do you think it is important for Shakespeare to be accessible for youth?

Shakespeare had such a masterful command of language. He used that ability to explore concepts that were important to him at the time his plays were written, and in such a way that they still resonate with us today. I think it’s important for young people to be able to see language as Shakespeare (and other fantastic writers like him) did, as a vehicle for expression, and for connecting with audiences, across time, about the things that matter to them.

Can you tell me more about your students and what you teach?

With the Story Factory, I teach creative writing in a variety of high schools and primary schools all across Sydney. The students I work with explore lots of different kinds of creative writing, and the ways in which those mediums can help them express their ideas, and the things they feel are important. I believe that creative writing gives us a sense of agency, and the connection students feel when they share their work and ideas with an audience is one of the most valuable experiences a young person can have.

Have you worked with the Stefo Nantsou before? 

I’ve worked on To Be Honest with Stefo before, for two seasons. It’s a piece of verbatim theatre that explores the stories and experience of clients from Youth off the Streets. It was incredibly rewarding to help share the stories of those clients, and take the time to consider a set of experiences that weren’t my own. I believe that it’s an honour and a gift to be given the opportunity to share another person’s story, and the highlight for me was being given the chance, with Stefo’s direction, to do that story justice.

How do you prepare to get into a role?

I currently work full time teaching creative writing, so I have my script, and my characters, sitting in the back of my head, while I’m teaching, writing lesson plans, and reading students work. I think the human brain is fantastic, and if you give it a task to work on while you busy it with other things, you can come into a project, like Take Two: A Comedy of Errors, wholly prepared to give it your all. By the time rehearsals start, I’ve carried the characters and their dialogue with me for long enough that they feel real, and adopting their personas comes more naturally. It’s not a perfect process, but I enjoy teaching, and I feel this method lets me respect my students’ time as well as prepare for a role.