Saturday, 19th April '03
I Have Aching Sides
Second day at the TNS today and I recovered from my sneezing fits / woolly-headedness enough to drag myself out for some activity. On arrival there was the mandatory pre-session mucking about... if you've attended any sort of class before you'll know what this means. Swapping phone numbers, oogling new phones - Huipeng's colour Nokia and Errol's Panasonic that raps out Eminem as a ringtone make my 8310 look like a dinosaur - slapping round high-fives... and I'm thinking how important pre-session bonding is to any group. That's how classmates turn into friends... through those little five or ten minute intervals that you spend sharing the little inane things in life.
But on to the session proper. We started out today with one of those "everyone support each other" exercises. After a little jogging warmup we all had to squash into a circle, face sideways and sit on each other's laps. As in just sit, smack there in the middle of the studio, no supports of any kind or anything. By some miracle of physics, we would all just be suspended in mid-air, an interlocking circle of ninety-degree bent legs. Heh. It was quite a lot of fun, and we collapsed lots of times, but eventually managed to get it done and walk a few steps too! At and excruciatingly slow speed, of course. Thighs felt a bit wobbly after that, but I think we learnt communication (sharing information, not being afraid to tell others of you problems, watching out for people less disposed to handling a certain situation and if you can, doing extra to help them) and had quite a bit of fun.
Hypnosis: Pair work where each pair takes turns at playing the role of hypnotiser and hypnotisee (apologies for my taking liberties with the English language). I partnered Rebecca in this one and it simply requires the hypnotisee to position his/her face a couple of inches from the hypnotisers hand and then follow it wherever it goes. Like an extended, self-inflicted "talk to the hand". The poor hypnotisee is most often reduced to contortionist positions on the floor, just to follow that hand all over the place. I took this as just lossening up fun, having to be alert and building a chemistry with my partner.
Mirror: new partner, Weiling. One starts some movements and the other mimics them like a mirror image. This one needs concentration to make it smooth and so that people watching can't tell leader from follower. And observation skills, of course. After a couple of practice runs and we had to reach a stage where the flow of command was smooth enough so that we could lose track of who the leader and follower was and we were just moving together somehow. It's not as impressive as it sounds, jerkiness does occur, and sometimes we lose focus and a slip immediately reveals the leader. Seems to be a more intense working of the same aims as the previous exercise.
This last activity I shall call "Fairy Tale" and the one we chose today was the three little pig story. If I ever become a drama teacher all my little kids will have to try this becuase it's just so funny! Most of us were just rolling on the floor like how I was when Heng did his Leann Rimes impression. What happens is each pair has a conversation, one telling the other about the story of choice, and everytime Serena shouts "stop", a new style (of the audience's choice) is adopted. It moves so fast you have to just go with the flow and change the character on the fly - something which calls for a pretty huge archive of experience. Krystal and I had to do stuff we had absolutely no experience with and I will have to go do some research and (again!) observe people more. Telling the story like a five-year-old would or like I'm apologetic was ok, but doing it like a retard or like we hated each other's guts was hard. I'm not an angry sort of person. The most fun to watch were the kinds based on sterotypical characters and situations. Siti and Fit did a side-splitting Ah Beng turn, and Weiling and Sufian just fed off each other, acting like two shy toots majorly in mutual like, eyelids aflutter. Geraldine and Ave had a Broadway musical reproduction of "huffing and puffing and blowing the house down" *bwahahaha*, Jo and Rebecca were on the deathbed, breathless panting and dying before the story was complete, just like in Chinese wu3 xia2 shows. I haven't had such a good laugh since... well... lessons with the Holy Child group and watching Eda, Wenz and co.
And that was more or less it for the day, and we sat together and shared a few discoveries. All in all, the theme for the day was removing inhibitions and building rapport with different people in the group. On Friday we'll all be going to watch (again for free! Haha!) Revelations, a play involving our instructor Serena, Kumar (my parents will probably freak out and think I'm going to the Boom Boom Room.. *sigh* People like Kumar are why my parents will NEVER want me to do drama seriously. Think I'm going to be influenced by these "not three not four" types), art director of the TNS Sean Tobin, Rodney Olivero and Nick Shen. And I will attend my first ever REAL, PROFESSIONAL feedback session (the mini ones in RGS and RJC don't count) - how exciting! Though I don't quite know how all these biggish names hope to benefit from my feedback.
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]