Children are lovely. Along with puppies, kittens and flowers, they are my window to the divine.
That said, teaching 36 children speech and drama ain't heaven, especially if it was to jump start them into acting, compiling their own script and performing within five hours. Coming back from a photography assignment in Malaysia in the wee hours of the same morning with the class starting at 8 am, didn't help either.
And of course these little tots were no angels. Much of the time, they were running around and chatting away incessantly. Kids will be kids. With their boundless energy expanding into their everlasting bliss, they love taunting their teacher to see how far they can get away with and push the limits - ironically, the kind of attitude we want our artists to be. So I guess they were off to a good start.
The training started with the usual (physical) warming up exercises, then acting exercises to get them to move, to focus on different parts of their body and to reflect on how they felt while doing so. This I feel is an important exercise, as students are rarely taught to interprete their feelings elsewhere in the mainstream curriculum, if at all. Next, I got each one of them to take turns to stand in front of the class to introduce themselves. That way, they were compelled to project their voices to the back of the class where I moved the rest of their classmates to.
After that they were to act according to how they were inspired from pictures randomly picked from a bag.
The highlight of the class was when they were split into six groups to write their own script, do their own rehearsals and then ultimately presenting their performance. Here, I was really impressed with their creativity, resourcefulness and enthusiasm. Surprising considering their initial boisterous reception to their teacher. :)
In the end, they all said that they love the experience and had learned a few things!!! Five hours weren't enough time to make anyone an expert drama artiste, but judging from their enthusiasm, I think they were inspired.
That done, I had to rushed for my train to go to my next assignment, which was a union corporate training video complete with long collective bargaining dialogues and union jargon. That was another grueling three-day shoot, and another story for another post.
Amid laid-back kampong (village) charm before landing in Singapore for the drama class with 36 boisterous kids!