In my spare time I participate with a drama arts group. I was given the opportunity to work independently to write a play. I needed to develop my scriptwriting skills so took a workshop where I learned the layout of a script and how to structure them. I was briefly told how to produce a play, but was more or less left to do it with my group and learn from experience.
A while back, I co-wrote, co-directed and co-starred in a production at a theatre club that I go to every week.
The theatre club has a few different groups based on children’s ages and puts on several shows; this particular show featured adaptions of some of Shakespeare’s plays. The younger groups were given a specific play but our group could choose a play to adapt and direct ourselves.
Although the writing of the play was a joint effort, the bulk of the script came from my co-writer and myself, with additional material from the rest of the group. The co-writers also co-directed the production. We collaborated on ideas, chose the best ones, directed the actors, took notes, thought about what we want the lights to do, and so on.
Each performance was only about five minutes, as a fair few performances had to be accommodated. The adaption I was involved in was of Romeo and Juliet, in which I played Romeo.
After the second performance of the day, there was a small award ceremony in which some people are given awards such as “Best Performance” of their age group. I won the “Most Improved Performer” award, meaning that over the course of the year, I’d improved most as an actor. I was also presented with the award for “Best Performance of the Night”, meaning that of all the actors of all the age groups, I gave the best performance; I was told that this was partially based on my ‘comedic timing’.
All in all it went well. I enjoyed the creative freedom I had as an actor, writer and director. We had to stick to the basic plot of Romeo & Juliet but could do the story and characters how we wanted. The skills I think I learned were: how to adapt a story, develop a character, manage a cast and lighting as a director.
I believe the experience helped me improve as an actor as it was the biggest show I’d been in so I tried hard to raise my game and develop my character. It also helped me to improve my organisation skills because, as the director, I had to communicate and tell people what to do and what was going on, and they all seemed to get the message. I also improved as a writer as I had to adapt a script. I’d written scripts before but this was the first time I’d adapted someone else’s work into something slightly different.
What I didn’t like about the experience was retrospect. Looking back, there are always things you wish you’d added, taken out or changed.
The main things I learnt are the three aforementioned aspects: script adaption, acting ability and organisation. But it did help me as a director, as it taught me organisational aspects as well as giving me directing experience.
I gave a good performance and according to many actors from other groups, teachers and audience members, my segment was very good and one of the best ones that day, implying that my directing, acting and/or writing was impressive.
Below are several photos of myself and cast performing the play.