‘Get on Stage’, The Navhind Times Planet J’s workshop on speech and drama was held on Tuesday, April 11 at Dempo House, Panaji. Designed specifically for those between the ages of 9 and 16, the workshop aimed at introducing the children to the nuts and bolts of public speaking.
Conducted by certified Trinity School of London, speech and drama teacher, Nandini Viegas, the two and half hour workshop commenced with an introduction to public speaking and participants were given basic tips on the subject. From the word go, participants were on the stage. Exercises and skits and more were included into the meticulously planned sessions.
The first session began with participants being divided into five groups and were asked to choose a name for their group based on speech and drama. Expressions, Chit-chat, Confident Thinkers, Speaking Tongues and Grand Theatre were the creative names chosen by the groups after careful thought and deliberation.
In the next exercise, the groups were given a statement; ‘I read the Navhind Times because’ and then asked to complete it. “You cannot use more than ten words in your slogan which can be rhyming or just describing the event in a nutshell. What is important is it should be catchy,” instructed Viegas. Participants were again given some time to discuss the same and group representatives were then called on stage to share what they had written. “Because it is very informative,” said team Expressions while the Chit-chat team said, “It gives us food for thought.” The Confident Thinkers confidently proclaimed, “This small piece of paper helps us read the world in miniature.” It gives us the best of news, was the slogan of the Speaking Tongues while the last group, Grand Theatre stated, “It is very diverse and has many cultural activities mentioned.”
As participants came on stage for various activities, Viegas gave tips on posture, volume, voice modulation, eye contact and pause. “A pause is just a break in the flow of speech and gives the speaker a chance to catch their breath. It is normally used before an important word for dramatic effect. It is also used between paragraphs. Emphasis is giving special importance to a word and voice modulation is necessary to avoid monotony and boredom in the audience,” she said and demonstrated the use of the same. Stressing the importance of eye-contact in engaging the audience she shared, “You cannot connect with your audience without eye contact; it is very much required to create a feeling of interaction with them. Also a smile is a curve that costs nothing but puts audience at ease, so please smile when required.”
In the final session, each team was given a phrase/idiom and was asked to enact their interpretation of it. The talent and fertile imagination of participants came to the fore in putting up the skits. As good as gold; in a fix; cold feet; nose in the air and over the moon were the idioms given which the teams dramatized with ease and skill.
Fun, laughter and creativity marked the extremely interactive workshop which ended with Viegas handing out certificates of participation.