On Thursday of last week, one of the VJ students in the intergenerational drama project made a Personal Voice presentation during the school assembly about the project, and how participating in the project strengthened her personal conviction about the ties between drama and the community. Here is an excerpt of her presentation. I was so proud!
Written and presented by Cerys Ong:
For the past few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with a group of elderly. If you’re thinking now: “oh, visits to the old folk’s home”, it’s definitely not the case.
What I’ve had the fortune of doing, was the putting together of my two passions. Theatre & Drama, and Community change.
Under the guidance of Dr Jennifer Kulik, we set out on a quest to explore:
How theatre can create community change.
We attempted to do so mainly by reminiscence theatre: sepia photographs, and weekly themes such as forms of entertainment, childhood, even fashion.
The topics facilitated mutual sharing, while the re-living of them, through drama, enabled genuine connections.
“How many of you here feel apprehensive or especially vulnerable when called to act on the spot? “
“How many on the contrary, feel much more at ease when acting?”
-So there you have it. My realization is that drama has the power to create community change because of both the above questions.
In acting, we become exposed to a somewhat foreign ground in which we don’t really know how to act. Vulnerability, in this case, served as a bridge between the elderly and us. We were all trying out, trying to adapt on a platform we were not exactly comfortable with.
Later, we came to realize how Drama also acted as a region of solace and freedom because there wasn’t a need to be anyone, or behave in a manner socially deemed appropriate. While acting, you cannot be judged, and you need not be too.
Thus the elderly eventually found that through drama, they could emote the post epic expressions; to laugh, frown or scream without constraints. It was the same for us, we could be 80 years old. We reached a common ground in which the confining lines between generations, or even cultures, were blurred, and finally obliterated.
That was how connections were able to kick in, and the unconscious, intangible and indefinable change was created.
Drama transcends the idea of simply a field of prima donnas, or a staged production with actors, costumes and props.
I believe that theatre and drama can make impact, initiate changes, in me, you, and any other individual or group, regardless of age, religion, race, social context or traditions.
And it does so, because, quoting Joseph chaikin in his publication “The presence of the actor”:
There are zones in us which have never lived before.
Through drama, we find and live them, both on our own, and together.