Friday, July 11, 2014

Playwriting, Teaching in Role, and Handbagging! by Yulissa Hidalgo

Yesterday was an amazing day. It began at NYU London with Carl Miller leading a playwriting workshop. I was hesitant at first because playwriting intimidates me, but he led us on an exercise with strict parameters that were quite useful. The task was to write a script using a total of three actions, ten words, and two characters. Before setting these parameters, he asked guiding questions. Carl asked us to reflect on when we were between the ages of eight and twelve, to remember a time when one of our parents were wrong about something, and then to think of what we did either as a result of it or as a precursor. He proceeded to divide us into groups of A, writing what happened before the incident, B, writing what happened after the incident, and C, writing what happened during the incident. We then gathered in groups of one A member, one B, and one C, to share our work. Afterwards, Carl asked us to present our plays with our group members as actors.

From left to right: Carl Miller, Phillip Taylor, and Cecily O’Neill smiled for me before lunch! :)    

Returning from lunch, we had the pleasure of working with Cecily O’Neill. She began her session by answering questions we had on process drama and then she led us to list significant aspects of teacher-in-role. I was moved by her following words: “Ideally, the kids should be much better actors than you… you’re much safer presenting an attitude or point of view than attempting to present a character…the purpose is to get the kids to do the work!” These words resonated with me because it reminds us as educators that we must be prepared but we must not do the work for the students. While leading a teacher-in-role, we must provide the students with tasks that will continue to keep them engaged. We then participated in a process drama, which included writing in role, hot seating, moving tableaux, and a bit of acting for our proposed film. It was quite the journey!
From left to right: Michelle, Crystal, Val, Kristen, Phil, Cecily, and Rachel actively engaged in the discussion.   

After our dinner break, we made our way to the Vaudeville Theater to watch Handbagged. A political comedy about the potential conversations Margaret Thatcher and Queen Elizabeth II would have had in private. It was an unforgettable experience and although I need to brush up on my British history, it still made me laugh. This play had the two strongest female characters (obviously) out of all the plays we have experienced, and I was fortunate enough to buy a program with commentary from the director and costume designer on their visions. I highly recommend this play and I look forward to the rest of my journey here in London. Thanks for reading! :)
 This is an image from the outside of the Vaudeville Theater.         

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