Hansel and Gretel in “Instagram House”

“Using the Internet and possibilities offered by mobile applications causes addiction in young people, while the criterion for success in life becomes the number of likes and positive comments garnered on social media. All negative comments affect their psyche and turn them into insecure and unstable persons,” – this is a message of the sketch “How to Save Hansel and Gretel?” which pupils of the primary schools Sjenjak in Tuzla and Vuk Karadžić and Branko Radičević in Bratunac had a chance to see in late May.

Guided by the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel who managed as a brother and sister to defeat an evil witch, while trapped in the “House of Candy,” the audience could see the extent to which the brother and sister were prepared to fight together in the present time, and the extent to which they were prepared to fight one another. The play demonstrates the influence of the present-day “House of Candy” depicted as a popular coffee shop “Instagram House” where young people spend time calling the place their home.

The sketch is a result of drama workshops for 20 boys and girls in the scope of the project “Stronger Voice of Girls and Boys Against Gender-Based Violence” funded by the European Union and implemented by the civic association Vive Žene in partnership with the association Youth Theatre Tuzla. The play warns of the occurrence of alienation from family and distancing oneself from significant moments in the present while spending time on social media, and points out that the world of the Internet often leads to cyber violence between girls and boys, which may have adverse effects on them.

After the sketch was done, roundtables were held for the pupils of the elementary schools, where guided by moderators they had an opportunity to speak about the following topics: what is equality and where is it represented today, what kinds of violence can they recognise watching the sketch, how does the victim feel and how does the bully feel, how can they help someone enduring violence, what is cyber violence and what are their experiences of it. The discussion ended with an exchange of advice and sharing of experiences with the peers who played in the sketch.

The project “Stronger Voice of Girls and Boys Against Gender-Based Violence” is funded by the European Union with EUR350,000 for the purpose of reducing gender-based violence by engaging boys and girls as promoters of gender equality in BiH.