Keep Calm and Let’s hop on stage

Some have no opinion on drama. Others view it as a meaningless activity and a boring and uninspiring waste of time. And then there are those who consider it divine. As for me, participating in a theatrical production is probably one of the most relaxing, enjoyable and fulfilling pastimes.

Drama (from the Greek verb dran, meaning “to act, do or perform”) is a great teacher. I’ve learnt the importance of teamwork, of give-and-take, of compromise. It has instilled in me a sense of camaraderie with those involved in all the plays I’ve done. The rehearsals and final performances I’ve participated in have resulted in long-term friendships with many in my production teams. It has taught me humility and the acceptance of each associate as an equal. My confidence has rocketed and my sense of achievement and self-worth is up there with the best. The costumes, the makeup, the stage-lights and the general buzz associated with a performance give me an adrenaline rush that I don’t often experience elsewhere. I am, in short, a drama junkie (and I’ve never complained about the occasional free meals and drinks along the way, either!).

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Did I hear you say you can’t act? C’mon, everyone’s an actor. When we communicate with others at work, at home, at parties, we go into performance mode. This actor in each of us, if given free rein and allowed to flow naturally and unhindered, deserves an audience. What better way to do this than to hop on stage?

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Do you enjoy telling stories that touch the emotions of your listeners and make them laugh, sniffle, surprised, angry etc? If the answer is ‘yes’, you should be on stage. The adventurer in you will get a rush from the challenge of facing an audience.

If you’re shy and retreating, acting lets you enter the world of make-believe and you become someone else. If you’re the serious type, here’syour opportunity to let your hair down and have fun.

Theatre is for you, me, everyone. There will be haters and socalled ‘critics’ but don’t let them get you  down because you’ll never satisfy everyone. As the 1972 song “Garden Party” goes “… ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself” (sung by Ricky Nelson). Just get up there and enjoy yourself. Tell yourself there are no good actors or bad actors; there are just actors. And let the devil take the hindmost.

What about the moments of tension and frustration, you might ask. Trifling and only of concern to the petty. There is fun. There is togetherness. The appreciative applause at the end of each performance will make your heart swell with pride.

Theatre possesses the sort of soul, crackle, sizzle, energy and vibrancy that not many examples of human endeavour can match. As Alfred Hitchcock puts it, drama is life minus the dull bits.

 Article by:
Chamkaur Gill is Assistant Professor at Bond University in the Faculty of Society and Design, where he teaches drama based courses. Chamkaur’s main research interest is the application of drama techniques in language learning. He can be contacted on cgill@bond.edu.au

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