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Tell Them About Me - Giuvlipen Theater Company

Tell Them About Me

Del Duma

The monodrama is based on conversations with Roma women and on the own experiences of the playwright, Mihaela Drăgan. The play presents the diversity of the Romanian Roma society, and shows the possibilities and difficulties, the joys and struggles from a female point of view, through the eyes of the women who are everyday heroes.

The performance focuses on the compatibility of tradition and modernity, Roma and Romanian identity within one nation, one community or even in one person. The focus of the play is on early marriages in Romania, mostly within Roma communities. In Romania, according to the Open Society Foundation’s research, 53% of Romani women got married before the age of 18. Moreover, 43% of the respondents were younger than 19 when their first child was born.

“...me, Mihaela Drăgan, half Romanian, half Roma, I love and respect both of my ethnicities” - sums up the actress at the end of the play.

"When I got my first period, I cried all day cos I knew I was finally ‘chaj bari’, a maiden, as we say it, and that was all they were waiting for to marry me off. That’s the signal: if a girl’s body is ready to have children, it’s the time for her to get married. But I didn’t feel ready to become a wife and a mother at 13."


Writer, performer:Mihaela Drăgan
Director:Liana Ceterchi
Related to the performance realized at the Roma Heroes Festival in 2017:Guitar: Gusztáv Balogh
Translation (Hungarian and English): Beáta Adorján, Diana Manole
Premiered:2013, Theater for Few, Giuvlipen Theater Company


Early marriage

“Early marriage, or child marriage, is defined as the marriage or union between two people in which one or both parties are younger than 18 years of age. “

Early marriage might be official or unofficial but is not registered by the state. As a result, it is difficult to obtain data on the number of early marriages in Roma communities. “Nonetheless, studies tend to assign a certain behavior or label to almost all Roma communities in Europe when situations in which early marriage takes place actually vary dramatically from one country to another, and more precisely, from one community to another.” The 2011 FRA survey showed that across all EU member states, only around 2% of Roma girls aged 10-15 were reported as “traditionally married” or cohabitating with a partner. With regards to Roma aged 16 and 17, the results show that on average around 16% of Roma men and women aged 16-17 were legally or traditionally married or cohabiting.

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Romania is the seventh biggest country in Europe with a population of about 20 million people. The past century of the country was highly influenced not only by the two world wars - after which Romania became an independent country - but also by the communist regime which has had a serious impact on the economic and social situation of the inhabitants. The situation of the Romanian Roma population is highly disadvantageous. Although studies and surveys differ in setting the exact number of the Roma in Romania, we can claim that roughly 3 - 10% of the population is of Roma origin. Most of the Roma (64%) live in the countryside. Jobs typically done by them are collecting metals, working at construction or in agriculture. As opposed to Gypsy people in Western Europe, the Eastern European Roma do not lead a nomadic life. However, they do travel if the work requires them to do so, even abroad, especially since the EU accession.

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Focus scene


‘Mihaela tells the story of girls who tried to escape early marriage in a surprisingly intimate context: for example, one girl opted for a religious community and another for suicide.’


‘Mihaela Drăgan alternates characters between interviewees, plays accurately and clearly, and raises a socially very important topic.’


’Who would tell you what was right? This is by no means what Mihaela Drăgan wants. She just interprets, opens the gates of her closed community, gives us a glimpse into this world full of prejudices.’


‘I met Mihaela through a play which - although I read it in its in progress version - , is a good and especially eloquent beginning. The play I am referring to is called Del Duma (Tell Them about Me) and brings to the fore small sketches of Roma women, sketches that could at any time become a play in themselves. The sketches of the Roma women have as structure the formula initiated by the community theater founded by Ping Chong (You can read here more details about this kind of theater: http://www.pingchong.org/undesirable-elements/). In Del Duma (Tell Them about Me) Mihaela plays the role of all women, a one-woman show - a tour of power.’



materials to read

excerpts from the play
In case you would like to request availability to the full play and/or the full video about the performance, write an email to info@romaheroes.org and describe the aim of your request!

photo credits

All rights reserved

 1: ©Alina Vincze_Mihaela Drăgan

2: ©Alina Vincze_Mihaela Drăgan

3: ©Alina Vincze_Mihaela Drăgan

4: ©Alina Vincze_Mihaela Drăgan

5: ©Alina Vincze_Mihaela Drăgan