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I wish I could do it all but I’m no superwoman; I’m just an ordinary girl with 24 hours a day. Deciding to write and direct for DramaFest, an intra-school Drama competition, meant sacrificing other clashing commitments including leading in Orientation and dancing for a national competition. Having acted in DramaFest, I was fully aware of the huge commitment it demands; I knew that shouldering too many commitments would be unfair to my teammates and equivalent to committing academic suicide. Above all, I wanted to give as much of my time, mind, body and soul to DramaFest as possible. Although rejecting those opportunities was painful, I do not regret anything I did for DramaFest.
In fact, I wish I could relive DramaFest’11 from conception to reception. My inspiration for our play was born in my bathtub weeks after DramaFest‘10. “Pop”, the sound of a bubble bursting by my ear, the dramatization of an idea entering my head: twins. I find twins absolutely adorable and anticipated exploiting some of the many probable comic complications. As I observed the bubbles floating gleefully about me then suddenly disappearing, I felt myself sinking. I missed the feeling of going home late, utterly exhausted after an intense rehearsal. I missed the fun I had with the people I’d come to love and I couldn’t imagine doing DramaFest’11 without my graduating seniors.
Then, I experienced a burning desire to ensure that the ideologies that my team held on to were passed on: the joy of creating Drama because of the love for it and the satisfaction of putting up a moving and thought-provoking play. I stared at the water for some time before I told my reflection, “I’ll take up the challenge of writing and directing for DramaFest’11.”
I’ve written plays for pleasure and for playwriting competitions but never for performance. With the benefit of feedback from many and using my actors’ improvisations, I repeatedly revised my script to make it more visually compelling and to play to the strengths of my cast. I was, of course, not a sponge that absorbed all comments. I stood by my vision of having an ensemble despite my teacher’s advice against it; where he saw problems, I saw possibilities. Receiving the ‘Best Ensemble’ award affirmed my belief that with courage comes hope, and with hope comes beauty.
I also regularly sought feedback on my direction to improve myself and give my team a most memorable and enriching experience. It was my first time directing a play on my own and I am grateful to them for helping me develop as an artist and a leader.
My favourite part of my DramaFest journey was not standing on stage receiving the ‘Best Director’ award, but sitting and watching the actual performance. Tears welled up as I watched our play unfold on stage, relished the laughter that erupted around me and savoured the intense silence from the captivated audience. Wiping away a tear, I thought to myself, “We’ve done it.”
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