‘Building Confidence through Drama’, The Navhind Times Planet J’s workshop on drama was held on Sunday, June 11 at Agnel Institute of Food Crafts and Culinary Sciences, Verna. Designed specifically for those between the ages of 8 and 14, the workshop aimed at introducing the children to the benefits of drama while emphasing the importance of the right body language and portraying a confident self.
Conducted by certified Trinity School of London, speech and drama teacher, Runa Menezes, the two and half hour workshop commenced with a fun round of introductions whereby participants played the name and action game, introducing themselves with flair and flamboyance through appropriate body language. From the word go, participants were on the stage. Exercises and skits and more were included into the meticulously planned sessions. “Drama is a great medium to open up, feel confident with body movements, to develop healthy group interactions and to get comfortable with the stage and audience,” said Menezes.
The introductions were followed by energetic drama games for participants to warm up and get actively involved in the proceedings. Games such as ‘Seed-Sapling’ were designed to get them to use ‘open’ and confident body language rather than ‘closed’ or defensive body language.
Children were then taken through a fun lesson on how to express emotions effectively, using voice modulation, facial expressions and body language. Participants were very proactive and enthusiastic while expressing different feelings and emotions. Through a presentation on ‘Body Language for Confidence’, Menezes demonstrated how effective eye-contact, a smile/pleasant expression, a confident posture and purposeful gestures are in conveying confidence, interest and active involvement. The children were also made aware of the ill-effects of negative behaviours such as fidgeting, slouching or hunching one’s back.
Next on the agenda was another body language activity that drove home the point that body language does not only affect how others perceive us, but also plays a large part in influencing our own mood, feelings and responses.
Armed with the new insights they had gained about confident body language, effective expressions and voice modulation, the students were then divided into groups and given topics to dramatise. Each group was handed over some animal-caps, and encouraged to incorporate the interaction between humans and animals in their enactments. With a little guidance and lots of brainstorming, children came up with creative and varied interpretations of topics such as, ‘A visit to the zoo’, ‘Save the animals’, ‘A modern interpretation of a classic animal tale’ and ‘If animals could be human’. The use of mobile phones for communication between “the crocodile and his wife” in the classic Monkey and the Crocodile fable, innovative use of chairs to create a baby-cot, the appearance of an angel, and making use of a narrator were some of the techniques that enriched the performances for the ‘actors’ as well as the audience. “I was amazed at how imaginative and resourceful kids can be! Not only did they come up with wonderful skits in a short while, they also managed to infuse them with humour and leave the audience with a positive message,” said Menezes.
Fun, laughter and creativity marked the extremely interactive workshop which ended with Menezes handing out certificates of participation.