Churning out new talent! | Daily News

Churning out new talent!

Members of the Drama Circle with the Teacher in Charge. Pictures by Thushara Fernando
Members of the Drama Circle with the Teacher in Charge. Pictures by Thushara Fernando

The drama culture at Devi Balika Vidyalaya is vibrant and exciting. The talent and enthusiasm is tremendous. Dramatic Moves features the Dramatists of Devi Balika Vidyalaya who are almost a class of their own.

Teacher in Charge of Drama Circle, Roshani de Zoysa touched on the fact that drama is an opportunity to enjoy student life.

“Our students have really benefited from doing drama. They get to experience real life situations. They have many talents, and so we give them the environment where they can show their talents. They get the chance to practice in something that will enhance their personalities. So it is very beneficial. They also genuinely enjoy doing drama. Through doing these dramas we learn so much that you cannot learn in a classroom. I too have really enjoyed teaching these students. We have had a very good track record so far,” said De Zoysa.

Historical plots

Theshani Milindi Weligamage says that part of the rewards of drama are of the memories, the unity and the friends you make which will remain long after you leave school. Weligamage also stressed that the sacrifices made, have all been worth it, and that it has definitely made her a stronger person. Weligamage a seasoned campaigner herself acquired something of value through doing drama.

“I am in an A/L Class, so with all the studies and academics sometimes we are under pressure. I find drama a great extra-curricular activity and a great recreational activity, so drama has given me a sense of freedom. Looking back at the path I have come through, I am the Head Prefect, drama was the main activity that helped me emerge as a prominent character in the school. So through drama I have discovered myself as a prominent student. From the characters I have done, I get to know different characteristics of different people,” said Weligamage.

She pointed out that by studying their historical plots, the synopsis and as well as the timeline they are able to relate to the character. The girls read the texts, watch dramas acted by different other associations as well as going through the internet.

I have acted the main role in a lot of dramas but still my favourite character is not a Shakespearean one. When I was in Grade 9, we did a drama called Persephone which was a Greek one. So we won the Best Portrayal. So in that drama I played the character of Hades. I enjoyed that one the best. That competition was conducted by the Education Ministry. We took part in Shakespeare YMCA this year and we were the first runners up, it was Midsummer Night’s Dream and I played the character of Oberon,” explained Weligamage.

The best memories are of encouraging each other to overcome their challenges. These are the golden days of ones’ life, the days of student life. So you have to enjoy it while you can.

“We all have a lot of memories to talk about. All we have done comes to a culmination. With our unity and strength, we got into the finals, despite on one occasion not having a part of the set. So even with that pressure we went into the finals,” said Weligamage.

The best actress

Hasini Dissanayake feels that she has given back to the school that turned her into a lady of the 21st century. In addition to receiving such valuable experience she has also received a gift, a gift which is the understanding of people in society.

“By enacting these characters they have helped me gain an understanding of other peoples’ lives as well. I can relate it to day to day life. In Shakespeare YMCA this year I became the best actress which was a tie between me and a Visakhian. I did not expect that I would get it. It was a huge achievement. I am really happy about it. I got the opportunity to give something back to the school and my parents. The play was A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” said Dissanayake.

Finally the show must go on. The girls are human and sometimes they may miss the cues. But doing drama helps you manage these things. You learn to think on your feet.

“When stepping into the skin of the character our directors make us do back stories and read about books related to that age. So we get an understanding of the people who lived in that era and their lifestyles. So we research and get a good understanding of that era,” said Dissanayake.

An emotional time

Chathumi Dassanayake, like Weligamage spoke about these memories which no one can take away from you.

“I have been in three YMCA productions so far. This year also I got the chance of acting. I really love the freedom I get from drama and also I get the chance to exhibit my talents. I love the team work which helps to build up my character. We learn a lot through doing drama. It helps us build up our personalities,” said Dassanayake.

Devi Balika Vidyalaya is like a drama factory churning out new talent year after year. Girls pass out and new girls take to the stage and memories remain. Memories are the real bonds we have with each other.

“This year I took part in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was really interesting and I had a lot of fun. I got to know a lot of people. It helped me to develop myself in a way and I learnt a lot about acting. Our Inter-House competitions help us discover new talent and we get to develop our own skills. You also get the chance to get rid of stage fright. When the production is at an end, it is an emotional time for all of us because of all the work we have done with each other,” stated Dassanayake.

Nostalgic memories

Hashini de Silva, spoke a profound truth when she spoke about how the dramas you have enacted as girls in school have such consequences when you are a woman years after.

“I have only done drama twice for Shakespeare. It was emotional in a way because it involved expressing love. When you are a girl it is challenging to walk and talk like a man. However it has all been really fun. Doing drama gives you so many nostalgic memories, and I definitely feel that it will help us in our future. All the experiences and improving our language is immense. In the future I would love to become a counsellor on the psychological side. Because of drama I know how to associate with people,” said De Silva.

Practice sessions

Nisandi Gammanpila commented how chemistry and maturity come hand in hand when you do drama.

“When creating the chemistry between two Thespians, off stage and on stage, you act as couples. We eat together and we drink together, we do everything together. Our directors always remind us of that. We build up our characters by making a background story as well. Even when you are not on stage, every decision you take while in practice sessions you do that thinking that you are that character,” pointed out Gammanpila.

The boons you have the privilege to acquire through doing drama are numerous.

“I have grown a lot through drama, and I have been encouraged a lot. I have matured a lot. It has made me stronger. Through drama I have learnt the ways of other people and can relate to them. Drama has improved my English and interpersonal relationships. Through drama I have learnt all that stuff,” said Gammanpila.

Physical and inner strength

Thinuri Senarath Yapa, rated strength and bravery as the two top qualities drama gives you. Powers of concentration are at its best when you do drama.

“Drama requires a lot of physical and inner strength. You also need to be brave to talk in front of an audience. Even being able to improvise is an asset because things may not go according to the plan. The memories I have gathered and friends I have made I will treasure. I have also developed my communication skills. I have also overcome my stage fear. Drama has also helped me think quickly and make decision quickly and you cannot lose concentration and you learn how to become confident. You have to improvise and make things part of the play. Through enacting different characters I have learnt to understand people,” said Yapa.

Team work

Tamasha Perera felt that you cannot beat the camaraderie and the feeling of overcoming something together as a team.

“Drama has been my passion and a therapy to me. It has made me a strong person. The biggest thing and most positive thing that I have gained through drama is team work. The feeling that we get when we overcome something together, is something that I take out as well. Before performing we make a circle. And that moment is emotional when we talk. We are doing a drama to win. But winning is not the main thing at that moment. It is the participation,” said Perera.

A sanctuary

Risaka Fernando feels that drama is something like a sanctuary. It is an arena on the day of the production and a shelter at other times. It is love and passion.

“For the prefect-ship my qualifications in drama helped get that position. The discipline that I have got through drama has also helped me. Most of the friends I have are girls I have met through drama. We always have a safe place to go. That has been drama. Drama is a place where I feel a part of things. I am usually not the person to talk in front of the audience but doing drama has helped me confront the stage and get to know strangers because you meet people from other drama groups. Doing drama gives us the chance to interact with a lot of other schools and a lot of other people.

The bonds you form doing drama are stronger than other bonds you make. The passion you develop makes you enjoy drama. When you go on stage that passion comes out and you are able to portray the character,” said Fernando. 



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