With a nose mask and a broom longer than the ones in Harry Potter, I dust this blog of its “post-less-ness” in the last 7 months or so. This has been due to my inertia, my hectic life and my illness that have deprived me off the general world and pegged me to a remote location in search of myself. Now that I am feeling good these days, I thought that there was no harm in reviving those moments from my Creative Drama class.
On the first day, I attended the Creative Drama class; I did not really have any idea about how or on what the class would be like. Would I like the teacher? Would I like the rest of the class? Would I have the confidence to follow through with the tasks? What would make me feel more nervous is that some of my friends knew the lecturer already and they would unintentionally make me feel inferior.
However, when the lecturer was here, I felt comfortable as one of the first things he said was that the class was to be a positive space and we were not here to be critical of each other but to be supportive. What was more surprising was that no exercise books were needed but only a water bottle but the lazy that I was, I almost disliked the first day as it seemed like a P.E. class to me. I disliked the fact that I had to move around with the “Go-stop-jump-sit-right hand-right foot –soldier-arrow” activity as I could not see the correlation between these movements and acting. I used to also dislike the fact that the class was on a Monday afternoon and on Mondays I was not able to wear my tight jeans and heels as the activities required wearing loose clothes, flat shoes and drinking a lot of water which I was not into at all. Nevertheless this very first day changed my life in a very positive manner, as it was that very first day that motivated me further to realize the importance of drinking water, doing physical exercises and made me join a gym a month later. There was definitely something different about this class.
The activities carried out were also really fun and helped develop a teamwork mentality and really broke down our internal barriers which tell us to always be controlled and reserved and encouraged us to let go of our inhibitions and really give ourselves over to the performance. My classmates opting for this very module and I, usually take great delight in boasting about the fun we have in the Creative Drama class, about the activities and most importantly about our assignment, to those doing the very bookish “Teacher Leadership” module. It feels good to smile stupidly to myself when others complain about how boring and bulky their electives are.
Coming to the activities, the initial tasks were pretty basic, no in depth acting performances to be found there. Being in the right posture was the norm, that is, we had to stand straight with no crossed-arms. In the beginning it was very hard to be in that posture as I am usually fond and used to the lazy posture. Nonetheless, I later realized that having a good positioning while standing is important while conducting a class. During my teaching practice, I tried maintaining the correct standing posture and I noted that positioning oneself is important when we want the attention of the whole class, for giving instructions, for example and that one’s own body language plays a large part in the energy levels in the classroom. Throughout, the fifteen weeks, many activities were carried out like walking in several direction and being aware of the movements(“Go-stop-jump-sit-right-hand-right foot –soldier-arrow”), miming animals, giving different facial expressions deriving from several adjectives , walking to the pace of one to seven , playing with balloon and controlling its movement, acting like a car and driving the car into several directions (go, stop, turn right, turn left), maintaining eye contact with the other, mirror activity, bottle game to showcase an object, gaze game, sitting in a circle and calling out numbers, making gestures and doing an action, play act, tongue-twister game, tableaux, dialogue writing, improvisation and forum theatre. The class always vibrated with creative and positive energy the moment one walk into it. All these activities have consequently helped me grow tenfold and even twentyfold into someone confident, and creative.
Each week, with a fascinating activity, I came to discover more about my classmates and their strengths. Those I thought were shy, quiet and timid like my close friends Anisha, Saraswatee and Divya; they turned out to be all ridiculously unique and interesting deep down especially towards the end of this module. It feels good to see them more confident, talkative, and unafraid to face people in any situation and comfortable with themselves which made me feel like being in a unanimous group that could conquer the world. Each and every time I could definitely see an improvement in my approach to performance and my confidence had increased so much so that I was counting down the days until my next class.
The saga continued and what I happened to like was the lecturer’s teaching style which was definitely different from long boring three-hour lecture and it was thought provoking and interesting as well. Each day in his class I had different feelings. Initially I was regretting my life for opting this elective as it felt like being in a physical education class and doing physical exercises were surely not my cup of tea. With imitating different animals brought me back to my first Osho meditation camp day where this kind of activity was carried out so that each and every one would mingle with each other and not be in their respective clan. I used to dislike the “vicious” Vishal, the guy who would make me go on my nerves at the beginning as he always used to get hyper and was extremely funny. I say “vicious” because during mimicking different adjectives, emotion and expressions, because he could not find an adjective and I was the one coming up with the adjective “vicious”, he had given me the vicious look. However, with time, I realized he was an interesting character with an excellent sense of humour and thinking of his caprices and the expressions of another friend Omi, would always bring a smile to my face especially during days I felt down.
Each friend had something special in them which we all discovered as the class unfolded and each class always ended with something interesting to remember, like singing for Deepika’s birthday, doing crazy movement and the other classmates would follow by doing the same movements, acting like a car and bumping into another car and getting an amusing kick from the driver, thinking of and imitating objects one would not think of easily during the bottle game, Yanishtah acting as the hanger, Omi in the character of snow-white, Amit’s always being too proud of his LFC shirt, Jessika singing the bollywood song “tinka tinka zaraa zaraa”, talking loud to oneself like being in the Osho gibberish meditation, Crishma and Saraswatee’s amazing performance, which I never thought that they were so talented, the Arts’ cohort of displaying their creativity through their drawings and posters, the crazy moments during the “Tableaux” where my group’s boat did not actually look like a boat and the laughter that always followed while being in a healthy competition with the other groups, amongst others.
At last, I have to say that Miss Helina’s presence also had an impact in the class. Physically beautiful that she is like those ladies of nobility and gentry of the Belle époque in France with an early Victorian light make-up and rosy cheeks, I always felt like I had to perform well when she was there, else I would be looking brainless in front of The Lady. Her presence was always towering even though she would sit in the corner of the room and note down things and I was personally always admiring the beautiful and always colourful and stylish “Ladurée’s Macaron-like Lady”. I can still feel the thrill of excitement about being in the company of beautiful beings (the lecturers) and crazy classmates while I typed in these words. The class had been like a stage to me where I welcomed these beings from “distant lands and times” (lecturers and classmates from different subject area); I hug the roles I had been assigned to me and rejoiced in their stories (Cinderella in my case-taking on the mother’s role) – but I always ‘wear’ them (the roles) lightly and let them fly away when the story is done.
The activities carried out have really brought me to see things differently and to use them in teaching English. For instance, even though, I was absent during the tongue-twister activity, I still used tongue-twisters in my oral class teaching the learners’ pronunciation through the audiolingual method and it worked well as the learners find it a fun and creative way to pronounce words. Also, my friend Divya devised a lesson plan for form one students during our peer micro teaching class, where she used the tableau concept, something innovative that I had not ever imagined before. The creative drama module has been useful to me and hopefully or surely to my other classmates as the activities during the class, have stimulated creativity and imagination, they have provided an outlet for self-expression as they were esteem-building activities. I have obtained the opportunity to try on different roles, express feelings, working on my emotions, controlling different movement, staying focused all the way and community building. With the forum theatre, writing and memorizing the scripts, as actors and audience, we were given a role and we were finally on the roll.
To be creative one must act. Creativity is meaningless if it is not acted upon and made real. If you do nothing, you have got nothing. By acting on your creativity you give voice to your human potential. It is an act of embodying what it means to be alive and to be you, here and now; a refusal to turn away from yourself, your life or your creative work. Hence, I have become more confident in the way I stand in the correct posture in front of the class and address my learners during my school-based experience; I have become more focused in things I do and I try implementing things in my lesson plans to make learning fun and keep my learners interested. I also know when my learners are gazing at me and how I should react in different moments without panicking.
In the face of the immensity of the universe and overwhelmed by one’s own smallness, it is easy to believe one is insignificant. One works to create a life worth living. However, life is not lived in the future or the past. It is lived now, and that is where one finds his or her own significance. Instead of retreating in fear into nihilism and despair (however well disguised) I can proudly say that I did something life affirming by opting for the Creative Drama Module. Acting is an answer to despair, because doing something positive is always better than doing nothing. I have to reiterate that my pride and joy have been the part of my imagination which has allowed me to en-soul other beings (my fellow classmates), in writing, acting and playing!