Friday, 1 May 2009

Credited Drama Group workshop No 2

Credited Drama Group - Oval House Theatre - 29th April - 5pm-7.30pm

I felt so nervous about leading the workshop today. I find it hard to talk to large groups and give instructions as i get tongue-tied and stumble on my words. I am not a confident talker, i hate speaking on phones to anyone other than friends and family. I panic if its someone else and what they say doesn't go in. My hearing isn't that great so i normally have to ask someone to repeat what they have said. i find it especially hard with names, especially ones from different cultures and religions. But from today's session my confidence is improving as I'm starting to get to know the students more, which puts me at ease.

First of all we went round the circle several times saying our names to remind ourselves of them. I than told the group that we would play the zombie name game, but my instruction weren't obviously clear enough and some people thought it was the other zombie game. Once that was cleared up we began the game, which went well. Its very important to start any drama workshop with games as it warms your body up for the activities ahead and helps get the group relaxed and comfortable with each other. This is what the Pupil Referral Unit group didn't understand, that for them to devise drama, they need to start with a warm up and games. They obviously saw it quite childish and they didn't want to be treated that way.

I then introduced the game 'Cat and Mouse'. Only a few people knew the rules to the game so i performed a demonstration with someone form the group. I made sure the rules were clear this time and that everyone knew how to play. The game went really well, everyone participated and had fun. We didn't have time for the last game i had planned, which was 'Chair Cover' as we had to stop for the break.

For the improvisation, myself and Monsay decided we would follow on from last weeks session on mine. We gave each group a scenario and we wanted them to devise a scene, with a clear beginning, middle and end, all in mime, but also looking at using fast and slow motion mime; decide where and what to apply the mime to in your scene and really looking at the detail of each action and make each action big and exaggerated.

The scenarios were:

A family barbeque

Sports day/ Olympics

Running late to catch a flight

A canteen

Again, my instructions were slightly unclear as i was nervous, but I made sure everyone was clear once i had set up the task. We gave them five minutes to devise a scene. I wondered if they should have had longer to devise as they could have focused a lot more on the mime sections without panicking about the time. Does pressure produce good work? Does a short time to devise help the quality of work? Or would a longer period help with the clarity of the work by producing a polished piece.

I was really impressed with the quality of work presented. Each group really thought about where they would have the mime sequence in their piece and how they would use it. For the group who were 'running late for a flight', they were in a rush throughout the whole scene and came across lots of obstacles that were slowing down, but at the moment where they were allowed to rush and run to board the flight, they chose to run in slow motion. I felt this was very clever, showing the irony of being in a rush and fighting to run fast, but showing it in slow motion. Their facial expressions showed it all, their frustration and anxiety about missing the flight. The group who devised a piece around 'sports day/Olympics' started off very unclear and actions were made unnecessarily, but when they finally got to the race it all became clear. The two boys started the race in slow motion, one of them was very precise in his slow motion mime and the other boy was very expressional and exaggerated all of his movements. They then surprised us by cleverly showing how one person was winning the race: by having the other boy running backwards and the other run forwards. This created a great dynamic to the piece which was helped by their chosen staging. For each piece i tried to give worthwhile feedback that praised their work but also gave a small amount of criticism or something that they could add to for next time.

From observing the group I can see that they have bonded really well. Its a massive difference from the Pupil Referral Unit we worked with, unsuccessfully, the other day. The main difference is that these students want to be here to learn more about drama and to achieve high marks from it. The group support each other and works well as a team. The facilitators are also very supportive of their work and push them to work harder so they can achieve their grades.

Monsay took the supporting role in the workshop today as she also was a bit nervous about giving instructions. So i was the main leader and speaker throughout the workshop. We agreed that next week, before the session we would decide on what games Monsay could lead and what parts she could speak so then the workshop shop is led by both of us.

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