LAU Performing Arts Student Tackles Mental Health in Concert Production
By Leila Bou Chaaya
Four Lebanese American University (LAU) performing arts students tackled mental health topics in a band production directed by performing arts student, Dona Atallah, for her “Introduction to Stage Productions” course.
During the band rehearsals in Irwin Theater, Dona said, “The song is dedicated to every single person who feels unheard, alone, lonely, and that if they were to disappear, no one would hear.”
Dona Atallah’s theater directorial debut, “You Will Be Found”, is a short musical based on a song from a renown Broadway Musical, “Dear Evan Hansen”. The song she specifically chose to be performed by incredibly talented performing artists and a band of amazing instrumentalists is an emotional, cathartic, and self-fulfilling ballad.
Mental health awareness is the main goal behind the song choice. Dona’s vision is to not only give a voice to every individual undergoing a sort of sadness or depression, but also to let them know and reassure them that they are not alone and that they should not have to go through their troubles on their own.
Evidently, loneliness is a dire feeling that everyone has experienced at some point in their lives. Hence, it is crucial to validate and prioritize such mental health issues in any way possible especially through music and expressive art.
Students all around campus had the chance to watch the 10-minute musical, relate to the lyrics of the song, and feel with the performers’ emotive acting. This experience also allows students to find a sort of enlightenment that makes them want to be there for their loved ones and never let them feel lonely.
The synergy between Dona, the 4 singers, the conductor, the drummer, guitarist, pianist, violinist, light engineers, sound engineers, and choreographer is undeniable, and is the epitome of professionalism when it comes to a student project. “we always worked like a team and that is what mattered the most”, said Vincent. The fine-tuned hard work is clear in the performance and shows how dedicated everyone involved is with getting the message of “you’ll reach up and you’ll rise again”.