By Corinne Ang, Senior Educational Therapist, Speech & Drama Arts Instructor
What comes to mind when you think of a drama class? Chances are, it will be a group of children, in a classroom acting out a scene. As drama teachers, these images are etched in our minds. However, in the last term, our drama classes took a different form. Students entered class by literally popping up in little boxes lined up on computer screens. Suddenly, sound quality and internet connection became a concern and information was shared with a single click. Students and teachers alike had to relearn how to function in this new environment.
Historically, the students of the Speech and Drama Arts program will put up a performance at the end of Term 2. It was a special time when the limelight was on the students, and their family members could witness the fruits of their labour. It was no different this term, the show had to go on. Due to the Circuit Breaker and we were not able to have physical classes, scripts for the Creative Drama showcases were adapted to fit a storytelling model where each child retold a section of the story. For the older students in the Educational Drama program, they took on a full play based on a theme – climate change. Each student enacted his or her scene like a monologue. These performances were screened online to their families on the 6th of June.
Although the students were disappointed that they could not attend physical drama classes, they rose to the occasion. As each week passed, they worked on their scenes and memorised their lines. Listening to the feedback given by their drama teachers, they adjusted their expressions and actions. This is by no chance a small feat, as it does take a lot of effort to focus on a screen for that long. Students also had to quietly wait for their turn while their teacher worked with another student. Slowly but surely, the plays started to take shape.
One of the key difference of this year’s production was how it was a team effort. Due to the constraints of the online platform, the drama teachers had to rely heavily on the students’ parents for the final product. After sufficient rehearsals, the students had to record the best scene possible. These video clips were then stitched together by the DAS publicity team. Fortunately, all parties involved did their part, resulting in a relatively smooth process.
Finally, it was showtime! As the students and their family members popped up one by one in the screening room, a sense of expectancy lingered in the air. With the entrance of the last guest, the screening began. There were no bright lights, stage or fancy costumes, but this performance will be one that the students will remember for a long time.