AIDA Production – Reflection

What was effective? How did the theatre makers create effective moments?

What I found very effective throughout the whole performance was the use of props and lighting. For example, when the spotlight was put multiple times on Aida or Radamese, it really focused all of the audience attention onto those people; all the energy was put into that moment, and that place. The use of red and blue light to create a mysterious and unusual atmosphere also gave us a sense of change and unpredicted events to come ahead. Whereas the warm and light lighting indicated us the mood was usual and calm. I like the way they also used props. For example in the scene where the king was singing and all the princes (unsure of this scene) where dancing, they used the blocks for several uses, mainly for building a pyramid at the end and incorporating levels, but also when they were dancing the block proved to have different functions as they stood on it, did a handstand on it, and used it for several other purposes. Something else I found effective throughout the performance was the use of music. At times, the instruments would be used to create a mysetrious atmosphere and feeling, whereas at others, for example in songs sang in chorus, it really brought out each emotion portrayed in each scene. For example in the scene were the princess sings “A dress has always been my strongest suite” we could sense an emotion of joy and confidence not only through the emotions portrayed by acting, but by the rhythm and sounds that the music produced. This is also why I believe musicals bring out so much more than emotions, as they can portray them in more depth and create atmospheres, tones and different paces that can’t be portrayed in a regular production.

What could you adapt? What could you use?

From this production I think we could most importantly adapt from the choice of pace, space and lighting used. I liked how they used their space throughout the whole performance- at times confined, whereas at others more spread out. It really portrayed the kind of setting, wether it was in the palace with all the slaves, or by sea on the little boats. We could adapt from this by similarly reflecting on how we want the setting to be percieved, through our choices of linearity and spacing. Secondly I like their use of pace, for example at times in chorus they would speak really fast, or i a worried tone. It varied throughout the performance. We could adapt from this by experimenting through fast changing emotions, making those transitions effective. From the production we could also reflect on the way they emphasised their emotions, and apply it to Metamorphosis by emphasising it to larger extent, to really bring out an un naturalistic effect. Making our actions quick, then slower could portray vast changes in atmosphere. The way the actors coordinated themselves, in synchronised movements also appeared affective, and we could adapt from this by using synchronised movements in a particular pace to emphasise what we are trying to show the audience. Lastly, I would adapt to the use of lighting. Throughout this production we further learnt the great importance of lighting and the impact it has on the mood and setting of our piece. I would definitely take away their use of colour and shade of lighting to adapt it to the kind of mood we try to portray in each of our scenes. It would have an enhanced effect on our scene and draw the audience’s attention greatly.

What would you do differently? What elements might you think carefully about in your work?

In our performance we will most likely use less music, as we only want to use it at certain times to emphasise a moment or expression, unlike AIDA where when music isn’t played, it most likely indicates an important part of the story.  In the production I also feel as if they were telling the story whilst showing it, as there were many lines and songs to it, however in Metamorphosis I would really like to focus on expressing those movements through exaggerated actions, rather than constantly using voice and narration to tell the story. I would like to focus more on show- not tell, in which differentiates to AIDA where the most part was narration and singing, in which is just as good although portrays a message differently. Throughout our work in Metamorphosis I will also think carefully about capturing the audience’s attention, at all times. There mustn’t be a phrase or movement which lies un necessary or irrelevant. Wether we do so through exaggerated actions or forms of speech, I will ensure that our performance is constantly engaging the audience alike Aida, where such colours, sounds and actions really attracted the audience attention, focusing and fascinating them at all times, whilst also leaving them in doubt or curiosity of what will happen next.

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Writers Fortnight 4 – Save the Children; UNICEF

In this talk I learnt more about the types of issues and severity children can experience, and the help and support that they should all equally acquire. Ms Hellens (councillor) was a psychotherapist living in Kenya, passionate about advocating for children’s rights and protection. She wanted to ensure that policies and procedures to protect children against abuse were secure in Kenya. Kenya had a high HIV rate with poverty and lack of education, so it is evident that much was to be done. Ms Hellens said that working with such difficulty in this LEDC was “worth it, to positively impact a child’s life.” although living in Singapore, this addressed the issue of Children’s abuse and unequal rights globally. Ms Hellens initially interviewed affected children to understand their experiences and stories, aiming to educate all people and train them to work and change children’s lives positively. Ms Hellens came upon drastic experiences that some children faced- such as a 12 year old sexually harassed by her uncle. It shocked me to what extent children could be abused. To prove this the child had stated that whenever she would retell the story, she was “re living the trauma”. Another case was that a child had been locked in a washing machine as a punishment- in which a lot of moral support and care appeared necessary. Such extreme cases of human behaviour appeared shocking and most definitely proved to Ms Hellens that something was to be done. We see how her job of educating people and spreading the message of this issue was crucial, to develop trust amongst these children and adults.

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Overall Ms Hellen’s story shook me as living in Singapore we don’t necessarily take awareness or concern of all the issues happening to kids of our age, externally. Such stories that were told really stuck to us and we see why people such as Ms Hellens appear necessary in such countries in order to build peace and trust between all, and most importantly advocate for rights for all children. From Ms Hellen’s experiences she has always loved working with children, which is why today at UWCSEA she is a councillor, as similarly in a sense to Kenya, she is trying to do her best to provide well being and serenity for all children. We see how despite the different kinds of cases, countries and people she has worked with, the reoccurring theme of equal rights for children remains core to what she works and advocates for.

Writers fortnight 3 – Marathon Des Sables

As Mr Stirrat talked about his experience in the Marathon des sables running 240km over 6 days, it really fascinated me and gave me the initiative to do something similar in the future. Mr Stirrat said that running this marathon was a great new physical challenge for him to face, as he was running in the desert, sand, carrying a bag full of food and supplies, and the tent to sleep in. He asked himself wether he could start and finish alive, giving the extent of difficulty, this race also stated as the “Toughest race”, with 900 runners of 45 nationalities. Throughout the course of the race he said that the 2 first days where more or less alright. His confidence was quite high and he was embracing the challenge, running up to 30km per day. However when he came to the third day, he experienced many challenges. Having ran 38km in 7 hours, he collapsed under a tree, ready to give up. He had gotten very sick , weak and dehydrated, from low fuel intake. He had also suffered from heat exhaustion which proved it even more difficult. Mr stirrat’s confidence went very low on this day, and his only motivation to continue was one of his friends dragging him to continue. He stated how important it was to stay mentally focused when going through such times. Nonetheless having experienced such difficulties, it was crucial to move on, and push harder than what you are capable of doing physically.

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Throughout this journey Mr stirrat discovered one important life lesson; that the power of the mind is important. That you can push harder than your capabilities. This lesson appeared relevant to me as I run competitively and play other sports, and the importance of keeping a positive mindset is always crucial to achieve. Mr stirrat said that UWCSEA had inspired him to take such risks unlike any other place. This experience really inspired me to do something similar in the future, and test my mindset to see how far I am capable to go. This experience by far really fascinated me and completing such challenge is definitely something to take great recognition of.

Writers Fortnight 2 – Asian Tsunami Survivor

Mr Hunter’s speech was a very unique one, giving us insight into this tsunami encounter experience. The tsunami occured in Bang Tao, Thailand, when he was on holiday with his family and children, on the 26th December 2004 9:30 am. He first described how he was enjoying his morning by the beach swimming with his children. Mr Hunter had been surprised as that day, not many people were at the beach- mostly locals. When he was swimming with his children, he soon started to realise something unusual about the ocean- forming small riptides and whirlpools, gradually starting to pull back from the shore. Mr Hunter then felt himself very very far from shore, very deep with a strong current. With the help of the locals, he and his family evacuated from the sea as they started to see a humongous wave start to tower over them. He stated “the wave got higher and higher. Then the water was over our heads” At this point in time Mr Hunter said how the whole beach was in a lot of tension and panic. Luckily, he and his family managed to get up in the higher grounds of the hotel before the wave hit them. His family and other hotel guests were lucky to be evacuated, as there was no warning and in this typical area, death toll was high.

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After the wave washed over them, effects were disastrous. Massive objects were taken and broken. Luckily in the hotel, only one guest had died however in the whole Phuket region, a quarter of a million had died. This tsunami also affected the whole of southeast Asia. In the hotel, Mr Hunter showed a picture of the whole entrance completely flooded, one of the hotel buggies completely sunk. He mostly said how the tsunami had affected the infrastructure and environment more than him personally. However he did say that after having experienced such trauma, this kind of stress and panic inevitably differentiated to day to day stresses. Furthermore his family and him were also featured in a Scottish news article, proving how globally known this issue was. However Mr Hunter said that this event had not impacted him in the long term, and doesn’t impact his everyday life. We could also identify this through the tone he used to tell the story, as we could see he seemed laid back and relaxed whilst telling this story, not resenting any kind of sad emotion. This event must have meant something to this but now, is only seen as a fascinating experience, or memory he will not forget.

Writer’s Fortnight 1 – Apartheid in South Africa

Throughout the writer’s fortnight journey, I first listened to Ms Jone’s story where she experienced apartheid and racial injustice in SA. I initially came not having much backstory of this journey, thus I was curious to get further insight into it. Ms Jones opened her speech by addressing the three main elements that had most effected her in this period of apartheid; Bannings, Boycotts, and Brutality. She first explained how bannings in SA went to far extents. Technologies such as TV, music and records were banned as well as books. Such bands were initially put in place to form one perspective- the “right” one, eradicating the others. SA at the time was shaping its narrative, suppressing unaligned thoughts. Secondly, Ms Jones talked about brutality in SA. She emphasised how so many blacks were rationally segregated through ultimate stereotypes and prejudice from the whites. On the presentation, a poster written by whites stated “Disobey the laws, you will be whipped or prisoned”. This message was evidently aimed towards the blacks and we see how the whites were aiming to “scare” the whites into such punishments, in order for them to obey. Thirdly Ms jones adressed the issue of boycotts. She said how globally, many organisations and countries were boycotting SA due to such conflict and irrationality within the country. Consequences were restricted travel for individuals and economically, no investments/trade was negotiated with SA. We see how the country was in an utter crisis of social, political, and economical discrimination.Image result for apartheid sa

From such experience living throughout this issue, Ms Jones learnt a lot. She claimed how important it was to “not be bystanders when you face a serious issue”. She said this as she felt she hadn’t done enough to support such rights of the blacks and social equality. Ms jones also stated her memories- she told us how important one of her history teachers had been as she had been the one to inspire Ms Jones to take concern of the issue and make better sense and understanding of the issue. She also remembered how she was in a white girls school with all its needs- and how the social class and economy diffrenciated so much between the white and black schools. She said how seeing the size, and coniditions of classes with so many children, had shook her, and really affected her. Overal she stated that having lived throughout this issue of apartheid, she says that it has shaped her personality and who she individually is, and is part of why she came to this school- full of diversity and acceptance of contrasting cultures.