Friday, October 4, 2019

Drama is a Team Sport!

 When I start working on our year end plays, I often use the analogy of soccer, or team sports. The children seem to identify well with the image of soccer and there are so many valuable similarities and examples one can use. 
For example, just like in a soccer game where you have to stay involved with, and pay attention to the action on the field, even if you don’t have the ball, you have to stay in character and follow the dialogue as it is “kicked” from one character to another when on stage, so that you know what to do and when to speak.

Another very helpful similarity is that both are a team activity, which means everyone is important. Just as in soccer where not all players can be strikers or goalkeepers, not everyone on stage can be a lead character, but every single player/actor is crucial in making the team successful.

This also means that cast members have a responsibility towards their team of actors, and it is a commitment to be part of a play. Each actor needs to do their part by learning  lines, attending rehearsals and of course, show up for the performance!

One major difference between Drama and sport is that we do not have any “substitutes” to use when someone does not show up on the night of the show, or even pull out during the last weeks of rehearsals. Of course, there are extreme circumstances when this is unavoidable like in the case of illness, but sadly, this is most often not the case. A fellow cast member not being at the show puts enormous pressure on the other students and causes unfair anxiety. Also, the child who is not at the show misses out on the reason they have been working so hard leading up to the show. Most often than not they find it devastating to miss out on this opportunity to show off their talent and what they have learnt.

At Helen O’Grady Drama Academy we not only teach drama and acting skills as a performance art academy, but also focus greatly on life skills and teaching our students how to be confident, well-balanced people. Therefore it is important to teach our students responsibility, respect for their class or cast mates, and how to be good “team members” by being supportive and encouraging towards one other, and to remain humble. All of these are achieved as incidental learning when preparing for and performing in a play.

It stands to reason then that we as adults need to lead by example, acknowledge the importance of our child's commitment to their team and being at the performance. We also need to show up and be present and show them our commitment to them.

- Charlotte Tervit, Vice Principal - Helen O'Grady Drama Academy Pretoria (Pty) Ltd

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