Monday, 11 May 2009
Time has literally flown by. It is coming to the end of our academic year, handing in work and worrying about he rehearsals have been in steady progression now for quite some time and as we are slowly bringing it all together we as a company realise that little details of our performance need to change. Our overseer and fountain of all knowledge on the matter (mainly as he has already done one of these productions so has more experience)lecturer gave a slight twist on the proceedings which gave a fresh new light on to looking at the performance in a way that we will engage the audience (our faithful children who participated in the workshops) at a level that they will enjoy and interact in. The performance consists of 4 different tribes all trying to save their small land from devastation of having no laughter or jokes for the rest of their life. The quest will then take the children around and with their help and knowledge (as I said before don't underestimate how a child's mind works) they will complete the task restoring the land of Kalku back to what it used to be. This magical quest is hopefully going to capture the minds of the children giving them an insightful and imaginative world that may or may not exist beyond their existence. There has be times when situations or problems arose during the ongoing proceedings, including someone being asked to leave the company due to unforeseen circumstances and commitment to the overall project, and also the slight change in script. The script has opened up an opportunity for everyone to be included which is also a really nice way to keep up the spirit within the group. Considering that this is my first production at university (all be it my choice) I do have some reservations within my own ability to perform well. I think my reservations stem for the fact that I will let my company down and also be a disappointment to the children who are watching. This is a personal battle that I will have to overcome and it mostly paranoia due to the fact that I am out of my comfort zone. Helping to solve my anxiety worry are the addition of the superb second years, that have volunteered to help us with our performance. Their energy and fresh approach has brought a breath of fresh air which is a nice contrast as most of the third years have reached a stressful period in their university life. One week left and I am really excited and nervous what the end result will be.
Friday, 24 April 2009
We are all very excited to partake in our fundraiser night held in our Students Union. The night is to promise a fun and enjoyable time with an Egyptian theme going through the whole of the event. There will be palm reading, telling you your future happiness. Taro card readings leaving up to fate what the future has to offer you. Henna tattoos so that for a night or few days you can have an image imprinted almost like a token of the great night you had spent. There is also fire dancing.
So with all these activities happening all in one night nothing can go wrong surely!!! Well on the night in question the plan was simple get to the SU for 4.30pm to set up everything for the night, have dinner then get dressed in your fancy dress outfit. The possibilities of fancy dress were endless and the creative flair took over, however putting ideas into reality then gave another perspective. Those who were game dress up head to toes in Egyptian attire and others like myself went a long to help out and make sure everyone else was having fun. The night in question had a running programme for the whole night and each individual had there own role for the whole night to be a success. When it came down to practice should I say it didn't quite work like that. Some members of our company did not pull muster, making it seem that they were not committed to the overall outcome. This could probably be because they did not attend the initial meeting for finalising the event and probably because they did not help set up for the night ahead, meaning that they did not really know what was going on. However the night was a success we raised a few pounds (well over £300) for our performance at the end and although having a dodgy belly dancing routine thrown in, it was a good laugh that was enjoyed by all. Over the years the Drama department has always put on good skits for the SU and successful drama performances and having our little fundraising event just shows that our company lived up to the expectations of the Drama department standards.
Friday, 27 March 2009
So the time has come to end our workshops and put all the ideas that we as a company have collected and create a performance. Those who wanted to act had to audition and Director's were chosen. It all sounds like a lovely idea and we as "The Golden Travellers" were really excited to begin. A rough storyline is put together and the actor's improvise scenes under the watchful eyes of our director's to produce what we think is amazing piece of performance work. This is a learning curve for all of us as none of the company has performed or had a major role to participate in one of these previous productions. Our director's are new to directing and some of our company have never worked together on a performance before, so adding to that small factor comes the task of working together helping and supporting one another to finalize the whole production. I think it has taken a while for the group dynamics to settle. It has also given one another to relax and trust each other's opinion and to approach any situation in a sensitive manner that it needs to be addressed with. I find it really interesting that we as a company have had the opportunity to include our own idea's through improvisation which has really allowed the group to connect to the best that they can. The show must go on and it will with determination of our brilliant company.
Monday, 23 March 2009
You may or may not know that I am proud of my Irish roots. Having a typically Irish name and knowing some of my heritage gives me the best reason to celebrate this week. It has been a week of celebration, not only was it Guinness's 250th year of producing the black stuff but it was also St Patrick's day where everyone comes out celebrating saying they have a little Irish in them - avoid the terrible chat up line that some people come out with. To top it all off was the last celebration of the 6 nations. Ireland won the Grand Slam something they haven't done in 60 odd years. I watched the marathon of games with my brothers and their friends in a pub and the elation of the Irish game was unbearable. All the English fans who were celebrating their win against Scotland were cheering for the welsh, something i haven't heard them do for a while. However ever since then I have been accused of being called something called a "Plastic Paddy". This brings up images of a little barbie doll shape wearing green, with painted shamrocks on her face. I do not see a resemblance between this image and myself, however I get annoyed of other people placing me in a band of people that should not call themselves Irish. I agree I was not born in Ireland but does it have to be your place of birth that labels you as being from that country? My sister's boyfriend was born in Singapore although having British parents and having a Manchester accent-does this label him from being from that country even though he has never lived there? Which poses another question where you live does that mean that is where you are from? Again what happens to those individuals who travel around a lot with there parents from country to country, does this mean they have no place of origin? When people judge others it makes me really angry to think that they know your whole life story just from looking at you. Well here's to people thinking that I am a "Plastic Paddy". My Grandparents on my father's side had to immigrate over to England for job opportunities. My Grandparents on my mother's side had split views of immigrating over to England for job opportunities, they didn't want to come but had to to support their family. However funnily enough my mother's brother was educated in Ireland as they thought is was better schooling then the English. Unfortunately my mother had to attend school here due to the reason that she had to help out around the house as her father and mother was working all hours to support her family. So it makes me sick to think that I can not class myself as having Irish blood just because I was born and raised in England all be it that for generations all my family originate from Ireland. I classify myself as British NOT English, even though Ireland is an independent country-well most of it! So let me celebrate the achievements properly of the Irish and let me drink Guinness till my heart is content and bad thoughts on those who have to judge and label people for their own entertainment.
Now coming close to Easter I feel much more confident with the way that our workshops have panned out. It has given myself and those who have participated in them an opportunity to get experience of teaching, allowing their own confidence to grow and adapt to any situation.
So what makes a good teacher unfortunately I can't give that answer, however I can take idea's from people who have had many more years of teaching experience and be inspired to use drama practitioner's theories to explore the notion of successful teaching. Dorothy Heathcote's method of teaching was to show empathy towards the children, putting the children in your shoes and vice versa. I can really relate to that when teaching children you need to empathise with them and understand what it is like being taught and also give them a chance to in effect teach you. So both roles of teacher and child are being shared. I agree with the principle however it doesn't always work in all situations. A level of discipline needs to be met as well. There needs to be a level of understanding the barriers that both parties need to agree on in order to provide a shared learning experience, so for example a child can't behave out of line and a teacher can't push the boundaries expecting too much. I have also started reading Augusto Boal's 'Games for Actors and Non-actors', this book has given me ideas to use in any difficult situation. I have also adapted some of those ideas in my own unique way to use effectively. For example in one of the schools that we were organising a workshop in, the school had a set way of dealing with noise. It was based on a repetitive clapping rhythm that got the classes attention and for the children to join in regaining their attention back to the teacher. We used this method of control in our workshop however the person leading the workshop wasn't getting the class's attention so instinctively I raised my voice and with retrospect played "Simon Say's" or "Follow the Teacher" as i like to call it. I would shout out commands, like hands on head, and the children would follow. Once I had all the classes attention of copying my movements I gave the leader of the workshop back the control of having all of the children's attention. I would not of had the confidence to do this action at the beginning of the workshops but now my awareness of situations has grown including my confidence and quick thinking, of being able to handle any situation thrown at me. The more experience of teaching an individual receives the better an individual will become at it, I also maintain that you have to work hard at teaching and to find a really good teacher is someone who inspires their pupils. I also agree that teaching isn't for everybody.
Spring is traditionally linked with the idea as new beginnings, fresh starts, new promises, new wardrobes, new baby lambs and rabbits and the chance to look forward to Easter. Originally Spring was called Lent, however it is know called Spring incorporating spring clean, spring chicken and spring new wardrobe. Looking at the last winter where snow prevented life, Spring offers hope and the start of life, offering a sense of things can only get better and to adopt a optimistic stance on life and your surroundings. Fresh new beginnings, fresh new promises either to yourself, work or a new regime that you are convinced will work. It amazes me that so many people are determined to lead a healthier life style, and this got me thinking why aren't today's society leading a healthy lifestyle in the first place, why are we punishing our bodies with bad food, smoking and drinking and not exercising enough. I have always maintained that I believe I live a fairly healthy life style. I play a lot of sport which keeps me at a relative healthy fitness level. I try to eat healthy but I eat items that I like in a reasonable amount also with a even balance to how much exercise I injure,I have also been blessed with a fast metabolism which allows me to eat almost anything (even naughty items such as take away food or excessive amounts of alcohol) resulting in not putting that much weight on. I must strees that obviously my weight doesn't stay the same I am not a bionic woman however it has never troubled me. However it does annoy me when individuals are convinced that they are too overweight and need to go on a diet. This word DIET is a terrible one linked with a celebrity lifestyle, and the media that are trying to tell the majority of the nation that this is the way to live. I disagree! If you are happy within yourself then you don't have to change it to match the size and shape of the latest top model on the catwalk. People are always going to try and aspire to other individuals that is just normal because for some bizarre reason we as a society are not happy with who we are. Which leads me back to my original point of why are people punishing themselves, I have never said I was a psychologist so this is purely my opinion. I think the problem is that people try to aspire to other individuals but fail so they punish themselves because they can't change into Jennifer Aniston over night.The grass isn't always greener on the other side. You are always going to have friends that are better looking than you, slimmer than you, more quirky than you, dress better than you, have more money than you, age better than you and this is where I think society is going wrong. Everyone is unique, different have their own personalities this is what distinguishes us from the person next to us and individuals need to appreciate themselves more otherwise there will be a rise of depressive people in Britain and everyone will be miserable.
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Last week saw our first week at organising and participating in our workshops. After months of organising and finalising with the schools, we finally get our chance to put everything into motion. The first workshop was successfully organised days before the actual event. However it didn't go as smoothly as promised. In the case of illness the group had to be reformed which wasn't a problem as the workshop was explained to everyone within our company. So the first of the workshops went really well and there were no other problems or glitches. The 45 minutes seemed to fly by, the children were really interested with what they were participating in and those who took the workshop were astonished with the creativity and imagination with the results that the children came up with. I know it sounds stupid but never underestimate the power of a child's brain. The imagination and creative flair that had spawned out of these small children amazed me. There were idea's being discussed that in real life could never be put in to reality, for example a tree that produced sweets. Something small like this that I would never of thought of but seemed so simple to a child that it should be an everyday occurrence. I suppose it would solve all problems to pocket money for sweets, just grow your own tree in your back garden, and replenish at your own accord. It just emphasised how imaginative children can be and the loss that adults have for not thinking or creating radical ideas. The children already had a vast knowledge about the Ancient Egyptians, which was brilliant, however i found the children saying things and objects that I had never heard of. Another thing to take away from this experience research your material as knowing what i know now the children knew a lot more about the Egyptians than i did, put me quite to shame. Although the children were in their element about explaining what the Egyptians were all about, having someone completely new listen intently to what they were saying, partly to get a reasonable amount of trust so they can open up and explain their ideas, and partly because research wasn't properly done and wanting to know the information, was one of the few moments that i really enjoyed about the whole workshop. I felt that the children felt wanted and enjoyed being the focus of attention, feeling that all the learning they had been doing had paid off. At the end of the workshop the group felt overwhelmed with the outcome of the workshop, giving them courage to tackle any other workshop we had planned for the future, nothing is impossible and everything is achievable.
Monday, 2 February 2009
DUST OF SNOW by Robert Frost
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
Snow is a strange yet beautiful aspect of nature. It makes mundane objectives into works of art. The ground is white and pure and having the satisfaction of stepping into fresh laid snow leaving a clean imprint of your footstep, makes you reminise on your innocence of childhood. Looking out my window into this new enchanted world of white just puts British culture into perspective. It becomes very apparent that everyday life has come to a hault all because of a climate change. People panic as their morning routine stops them from going to work as roads aren't cleared and public transport isn't functioning as it normally does. It is exactly the same in the opposite conditions. When the British weather reaches a point of being too hot again normal everyday occurances don't function as they should. People rush out to buy abundances of fans or coolers. They buy excessive amounts of ice from shops just because it is there and apparently NOW an essential element for the individual to survive during the freak weather period. I suppose the few and rare times that the British weather has caused people to act in a manner that can be considered abnormal, at least some individuals or businesses are making a profit. There is always a moment of insanity that someone is going to think up of a gimmick or product that will serve its purpose for rare occurances such as freak weather conditions, and then they are pleased with themselves that only they had the idea to invent such a business. It amused me whilst walking, or more like shuffling slowly to avoid falling over on the ice, that people were enjoying the weather conditions, either making snow angels, having snow fights or even making a fictional yet stereotypical snowman. It reminded me as a child that whatever the weather I would find myself out in the garden with my brothers and sister playing some sort of game just to entertain ourselves and avoid the drivel that was on television. Just for those couple of days it made the majority of people happy in the notion that they actually wanted to go outdoors and enjoy themselves rather than staying indoors, couped up and just letting the world pass them by. I feel that the amount of technology around and available is stopping people from doing the simple things in life and this is slowly ruining today's younger generation. All it takes are these snow days to allow people to realise that there is something more interesting out in the wider world, which in one case is quite sad and another is a good thing reminding people to be active with their lives.
Thursday, 15 January 2009
Although I'm not part of the creative part of our community drama piece, I did come up with some ideas resulting from a documentary that I saw on TV recently. I feel that if we are reaching out to an audience of Primary children I think that we need to have a topic that will grab their attention. A possibility that we could use is to capture and explore their imaginations, taking them away from their day to day occurrences. I personally feel that children today have not engaged fully with their imagination, by this I think other more influential aspects of today's society have dominated what children do and think today, I feel that their imagination is not being used to its full potential which is a shame because sometimes their ideas are really good and original. I then had three ideas that formed in to my head based on fairy tales:
1) Taking the idea from Shrek. Where all the fairytale creatures were banished from their homes. We could take a journey around the site putting the fairytale creatures back in to their original homes.
2) One book that really stood out was Enid Blyton's The Faraway Tree. With this I was thinking that this really challenges the imagination and tells enchanted stories so it could be a good choice to choose from, maybe might be worth a read.
3) The last idea I had was to tell fairytale creatures or Disney characters stories that didn't play major roles in the traditional tales that we are all too familiar with.
These were just a few ideas that I had, they might be pointless but it was just something I was thinking about.
I have to admit I haven't written on my blog for ages. This could be for many reasons. One I feel as though I didn't have anything interesting to write about. Another was not having anything to relate back to the work of Drama in the Community. Another could be deliberately putting off publishing my ideas for fear that people would laugh at me or think I'm stupid. This I think could be a problem with society, British people are stereotypical known for complaining. We complain about transport, politics, food, size, fashion, music, drinking, smoking, anything that affects us personally. Yet ironically we as a nation don't really do much about it, take the example of queuing in a line for a bus. We queue in an orderly fashion and complain that you have to wait for the bus that its taking forever to arrive, yet still insist on waiting to get to their final destination instead of walking there. My point is that it is easier to come up with an excuse rather than admitting fault and trying to resolve the problem, and I think this occurred to me so I'm trying to put it right and do things without worrying what other people might think, hence 'grab the bull by the horns' so they say and write for the sake of writing, even if its only important to me.