The faith group presented the play ‘A Thousand Paper Cranes’ recently. The play was fully planned, prepared and executed by the students themselves… and the performance was brilliant!
On the following Monday, the students were asked to write a few lines about their experience of preparing and performing the play. The reflections were interesting – ringing true the old adage that “…there are as many versions to an expedition as the number of mountaineers..” 🙂
Here are some excerpts from the students’ reflections – with minor paraphrasing in some cases to aid comprehension.
“… this year Mahavir gave us a lot of crazy projects. The play was one of them. When he told us we can do our own play, I wasn’t even that surprised. …He made us write a book in one month, start a class journal, going on a trip and writing a huge report on it. … For this play, we had to do all by ourselves – find a play, a script, find a director, and lots of other work…”
“…I didn’t learn much. I don’t think there is much to learn when performing a play. I mean, I learned about Sadako’s life.
I was very inspired by one kid who jumped over a cactus and twisted its leg two days before the performance. That was just genius…
I think it was good we had someone who knew Japanese culture because she really helped make the play more realistic and alive.
I think we did amazing for the short time we had. There were times I thought there was absolutely no way we could do it because we never even had a proper rehearsal. But I think we did better on the final performance, although it felt very rushed, and people seemed angry and stressed, but the acting was good.”
“…so this year, just like every year, we did a collective play. Three years back, we did a thrilling play called ‘King Arthur’. I was a knight and felt I could have done better. Next year, I was absent at the time of the play. Then this year, the final year, we had a very nice play that was very fun to be part of. This year’s play was quite different from most others in Deepanam as it was for the first time directed not by a teacher but by a fellow classmate. … This play was much less childish than the other plays I was in….”
“…during the first many weeks, the director never gave to practice my scene. She was always stuck in the first four scenes. I was watching everyone practice and was sitting in the audience place and I was so bored…”
“…it was decided that a student should direct the play. V directed the play. We had very less time – just a month, and our practice was horrible and we thought we should give up but Mahavir never gave up and V forced us to come on Saturdays and some Sundays. We never practiced with props and got the props only in the last week… we were so tired in the last few days but we still put in all the energy we had as it was the last play together…”
“… the play taught me to be patient with others and myself since I feel I was stubborn sometimes…”
“…I learned to improve my acting skills… and I was inspired by everyone else’s acting skills… it is a better idea to have one of the students directing the play…”
“…My role was not big but I enjoyed it. My experience was bad as it was boring – we just did my scene 2 weeks before the play – but I was watching others practicing – it was funny to watch them. Our director was annoying – she didn’t give me free time and she wanted to do light rehearsal and it was for three days and it was horrible, but when it was the actual play I was scared but it went well. It was fun to do it as it was my last play in Deepanam…”
“….I am the director, people expect me to have a lot to say, and I have a lot I can say…
My name is V, and I am a little crazy. I took up the challenge of being the director without even knowing what it is! I have never even seen a proper play, what would I know about directorship? So for the first few weeks, I kept watching videos and documentaries about plays…
The documentaries etc were useful. They taught me everything I shouldn’t do…They were not bad at all, but all the techniques they used would never work with our class. The class doesn’t’ exactly know what they want, but in all honesty, neither did I! I just had a clear vision that I wanted to make this the best play done by Deepanam…
At times I felt stupid, humiliated and regret – not because of the students, but because of myself. Every time a rehearsal went bad I would blame myself by saying I am a bad leader who can’t control them. But after a few more classes of feeling down and in the dumps, I realized, I am not perfect, I can make mistakes but at the end of the day I am proud of the hard sleepless nights and every time I cried, I picked myself up again. I am proud of how resilient I have become. More than all the compliments and the execution, I loved the things I have learned about leadership and myself…”
“…In the beginning, we had play practice with S, but the Mahavir told S that we could not do a play with her as most of us did not listen to her and she had to scream at us…Then another guy called C came to do theater with us. I didn’t like him – he does not know how to work with children – and in the end, we did not do the play with him. Our class is very uncooperative (I noticed that…) …finally we did a play directed by our own classmate…
I was the grandmother in the play. It was not a big role. And I wanted the main role but I did not get it. I enjoyed the play very much… I got to wear a yukata! (I was hoping that the grandmother gets to wear a kimono) and she did…I am actually glad the play is over now, and it is off our ‘To do’ list before we graduate from Deepanam…”