Sofia’s mother’s last wish was for her ashes to be spread in the country where she was born. Together with her four friends, Sofia decides to fulfill her mother’s wishes, and sets out on a trip to Colombia. The trip that starts out pleasant doesn’t go as planned. The friends find themselves confronted with various challenges that test their friendship and their courage.
This Papiamento play, titled ‘Amiganan pa Semper’ (Friends Forever), was written, produced and directed by Faritah Luidens. Luidens is known in the world of art and theatre in Aruba as a singer, comedian, actress and writer, with an artistic career since she was barely 17 years old.
Luidens began singing and then went into the world of theatre. Many people on the island know Luidens as the humorous character, ‘Tica Basha Abao’, but her dream was also to write theatre plays. Not only with the goal of promoting theatre, but also to invite others to follow their dreams and contribute to art and culture on Aruba. After two years dedicating herself to her dream, her first play, ‘Friends Forever’, is ready to be presented in September.
Luidens explained during a press conference that it took her a year to write this play. She chose the title ‘Friends Forever’ because she belongs to a group of friends that gave her the idea. She chose Colombia, because she travels to this country regularly, and some of the things she went through here and there became the experiences she combined to add into the play.
Luidens herself is directing and producing the play, and as an actress, she knows the importance of a good cast. A cast that has been practicing and preparing the play for around a year, and from the beginning have been dedicated to it. The cast consists of Nilka Franka, Lilian Pieters, Amy Richards, Faridi Daou, Meredith Rafael, Edjean Semeleer, Israel Luidens and Jason Croes.
“I couldn’t go to sleep without thinking this has to happen, and I said I wanted the créme de la créme. I started looking for those I consider to be phenomenal actors and that is the cast that we have. It is a completely different play, it was everything and that’s why I say it’s something completely different. It’s about time to support our own people, and we have phenomenal actors on this island”, she says.
Cast member Edjean Semeleer says that the experience was completely different for him and took him way out of his comfort zone. “The first times it was very uncomfortable to do it, but what I saw the protagonists displaying, I found fantastic. The play itself, the way it’s put together, you can relate to a lot of those situations”, he says.
Semeleer commented that ‘Friends Forever’ is a theatre play in which humor stands out a lot and the public will experience a lot of emotions, like anger and nostalgia, but humor will prevail during this play.
Semeleer says that in the moments where he’s not acting, he can sit and enjoy the fantastic acting of the protagonists. “For me as an artist, it’s an honor to take part in this play. I am sure the public will enjoy and feel inspired and motivated to see that there are initiatives taken to promote theatre on our island.”
Rayenne Hernandez, director of UNOCA – cultural fund that cofinances Art & Cultural Projects in Aruba – was also present during the press conference. For UNOCA, she mentioned they are very proud to present and take part in such a project.
Hernandez emphasized that often international presentations or theatre plays receive a lot of support from the local community, and UNOCA believes that the local plays, Aruba’s artists, also have talent to present on an international level, and this is one the reasons why UNOCA decided to financially support Luidens’ project.
UNOCA believes in developing art, culture, and for theatre we see that in recent years it has not been given the value it deserves, is not receiving the commercial support, and we a decided, together with other partners, to support this project to see our own local talents also on the stage and for the community of Aruba to enjoy.
The play ‘Friends Forever’ will present on the 2nd and 3rd of September at Cas di Cultura. The play is in the Papiamento language.