Theatre has been an influential factor in many people's lives. Creativity can flourish, academics can improve, and means of self-expression can be developed. It is important to have mandatory theater classes because when a student participates. They benefit significantly, not only in terms of exploring the unexplored or hidden ability to act, but also by shedding the inhibitions associated with performing in front of an audience. Theater can be influential in all aspects of life. Participating in theater classes can stimulate student's creativity and thought process. The whole experience of theatre makes people more aware and sensitive towards various issues. It empowers the meek and makes people do away with their reservations.
The theatre classes, which went on for a week were designed with an idea of pushing people away (?) from their comfort zones and showcase their creativity – did you read the course outline?. Theatre makes you form a connect with people and impact their lives by conveying the message in a very subtle way. I personally benefitted a lot from this course in a very short span of time. It’s a different story altogether that I already had a flair for acting right from my childhood days and I had showcased my acting skills on a number of occasions. But, this was a platform extended to me after a very long time where I could not only learn the nuances of acting from a seasoned instructor but also implement them in practice to experience the difference. The most striking aspect of the course was to realize the determination and self-belief that you can do anything you wish. The students were asked to enact a paralyzed character who could push a glass of water only by means of his face. This exercise, infused a sense of belief that it doesn’t really matter how scarce the resources are at your disposal, you can always achieve whatever you want if your are determined and focused about it. Sincerity and determination were some of the key takeaways from this exercise - nicely substantiated!
Performing on stage doesn't always mean that you need to be vocal and heard. Conveying a message to the audience and communicating with them without actually talking is something which was worth learning during the course of this workshop. It's a common notion that only articulation should be of highest order of importance when you are the middle of such a setting. On the contrary, the fact is that, gesticulation using body language should be effective enough to substantiate your verbosity.
Numerous aspects of theatre experiences are sensory and tactile. The workshops like these may involve development of flexibility, strength control and ability to use the entire body to communicate a role. They also help those students who are actually not focusing on performance but concentrating on enhancing their kinesthetic abilities. Theatre also develops numerous social skills. What I have observed personally is that people expressed and negotiated the differences in opinions with utmost calm and composure. They have managed to learn from each other, which is contrary to the conventional classroom learning – interesting correlation!. Most of the performances were in teams, be it a team of two people or may be in excess of eight. How to synchronize and compliment others in a play and how to time your dialogue delivery so that it has the desired effect on the audience, were some of the key insights for me as a participant.
Theatre also makes all the participants share their ideas and showcase their creativity in whatever aspect possible. Most of the time, it was observed that people who were not expected to be associated with creativity, actually surprised everyone by their presence of mind.
The theatre workshop opened all of us in so many different ways, but it broke the same barriers and inhibitions that we had hold on to for so long. The classes taught us team work. It made us more confident, expressive and comfortable. The processes of preparing for a performance helped us experience and value the perspective of other people participating with us. As students endeavor to learn to act, to be involved in the many aspects of theatre, and to entertain audiences with the art and craft of theatre, they are gaining understanding of themselves and others. The workshop also had a unique blend of team activities that showed me how important is it to have trust within your team if you want to be a high performing team. Without trust you can never realize the true potential of what you as a team are capable of doing.
I could relate the theatre workshop to all five pillars of SOIL. Let's take Mindfulness first. It is all about becoming aware of your surroundings, your co-performers, and the audience. All these require you to be mindful of whatever is happening in the act.
A theater performance is a beautiful blend of different people from diverse backgrounds coming together. Putting to rest their differences, shedding their inhibitions and perform as one while helping each other. This particular aspect clearly refers to the pillar of diversity.
Making use of the limited resources at your disposal is another learning which I could garner from this workshop. This refers to sustainability pillar of SOIL.
Theatre also taught me how to put yourself in others shoes and empathize with them. This particular aspect is very crucial in a sense that if one can’t really get into the character he is showcasing, then he won't be able to do justice to that performance. Hence the pillar of compassion plays an indispensable role here.
And last but not the least, the pillar of ethics forms the essence of theatre in real sense. If we are true to ourselves, then only we can be true to our values and to others - should have explored this more.
In addition to the learnings I have mentioned above, I also realized that to be successful in life adaptability and flexibility is of paramount importance. Theatre taught me to explore more, face new challenges, and have the ability to adapt with the changing situations.