Zulius and the Fire Snake stirs Egyptian passion
Michelle Strutzenberger


While co-creation, collaboration and responsiveness are being touted as the future of good work, a drama team from posAbilities appears to have mastered much of this already, as their latest production also revealed.  With senior support worker Don House at the helm, the production sought to make the most of everyone’s gifts, interests and skills.

Zulius and the Fire Snake was presented three times last week and three the week before, with about 150 people coming through the doors to watch the Egyptian-themed drama put on by people that posAbilities works with.

The writing of this play began with Don’s inspiration to base it on Egyptian lore.

The Stage Door drama team co-ordinates a production once a year. It has been operating for about 15 years.

One of the team members immediately jumped on the idea, noting it would be an opportunity for her to play Cleopatra.

“Suddenly the interest starts to snowball,” Don tells posAbilities Today.

As he’s been doing for the past five years or so, Don took on the role of recorder as people shared how they’d like to participate. One woman enjoys dancing. Could she work that in, she wondered.

“I say, ‘Of course, you can. We just have to figure out how and where,’ ” says Don.

Working collaboratively fosters a sense of pride in the whole crew they wouldn’t likely experience otherwise, he notes.

“They’re the ones creating it in a way,” he says. “I just get to try and pull all the ideas together, to find a thread that can flow through it all.”

He adds the play never ends up being what he intended — and that’s all the better — though it took him a few years to figure this out.

“It does become better because of their talents, because of their ideas, the spur-of-the-moment inspiration,” says Don.

The group’s openness to that spontaneous inspiration to improve on what they’ve created continues through the rehearsals and right up to final production. For instance, with the last show, someone decided to tweak a joke last minute to make it even funnier.

Rosie is one of the crew members who was interested in playing Cleopatra. She says for her this was the highlight of the whole production.

“I was the mean queen,” she says, adding she finds herself becoming more self-confident the more she acts.

With Zulius and the Fire Snake done for the year, the crew will ramp down for a few weeks but then they’re ready to continue with some relatively new activity — video production.

Next on the agenda: every person creating a digital story of their own choosing, about five minutes in length.

Don says they’re not providing many more guidelines than that, the idea being to stay open to being surprised and following where the group’s inspiration — as it has done so well before — leads.

Feel free to comment below, or e-mail michelle(at)axiomnews.ca.