Alvin Tan – The Necessary Stage Singapore
Activity 1: Find a spot in the room, walk to the spot with eyes close. Arms up to protect yourself from banging onto each other.
Activity 2: A and B. A do a sound that B can identify. B close eyes with arms up. A has to lead B with their sounds. B has to identify and follow.
Acitivy 3: A and B. Two straight lines. Do a mirror image of A’s pose. 10 secs. B cannot try the pose. Then After 10 secs, B do the action. Layer: Twos, and Fours
Activity 4: One straight line. Hands on each other shoulders. Specs out. Using your hands, feel the person’s facial features in front of you. In one straight line. The first person leads the line. Eyes closed. Break free. Now, find back the person of that is standing in front of you.
Activity 5: Card games – Using no. 1 – 10. Choose a card. 1 represents the least. 10 represent the best. Without seeing your card, put it on your forehead so that others can see. Base on the no., treat the person according to that. Then, on the scale, arrange yourself what u think ur no. is.
Activity 6: With scenarios. Take a card and put on forehead. Two volunteers. Taxi and Doctor scenes. Base on how the other party treats you, find out the no. on your head.
Activity 7: SPICE. Self-development on characters and personality. Get to know their individual personality better. Builds their character. By impersonating or creating characters, they explore the different characters and may even find their ‘self’. Builds their improvisational skills. Aspects of individual:
S – Spiritual
P – Physical
I – Intellect
C – Cultural
E – Emotional
Theater for Young People
Going for the symposium was an enriching experience for me. I get to see the director of TTNS, Alvin Tan. I was quite excited to see him because he directed a few plays such as the ‘Singapore’, by Haresh Sharma, which I watched last year. And to get to learn a few ideas and pointers from him is really a privilege. The activities, which he explained, are a warm up and get-to-know-you activities. It makes the script performance easier because people know each other better through these games. It creates a comfortable and familiar environment for people to work together.
It was interesting how Alvin did the layers by increasing the difficulties and levels. I felt these activities could help build rapport with the students that I might be working with in future.
He also introduces various projects and theatrical plays that he directed and worked with. He focused on working with original works of intercultural theatre, most of them found in Asian theatre. These works had themes, which aim to deal with problems concerning the mixture of cultures. Singapore is a migrant country, where our ancestors came from many different countries. Hence, we do not really have a one true Singaporean today because it is made up of many cultures and races, so we may have Singaporean Chinese, Singaporean Malay, etc. Whereas in Japan for example, the people are called true Japanese, because they are the natives of the land itself. The reason why he wanted to work with intercultural theatre was because he wanted a Singaporean voice, a voice that is made up of many different kinds of languages, practices and speeches. This uniqueness of Singapore is then brought out.
In the 1970s or earlier, Alvin explained that acting is only for English speaking people. Native language, dialects and other mothertongue languages were not considered as acting. Our Singaporean identity was not brought out. He wanted to promote the uniqueness and identity of Singapore through intercultural plays because Singaporeans are not well aware of our strengths yet. The media is always portraying good English, which hinders our growth and pride of our multi-cultural and intercultural society.
Interculturalism is not a bad thing because we learn the different cultural practices of one another. There is deeper mutual understanding and harmony within the different races and cultural groups. Understanding others requires love and patience, not tolerance. Tolerance has a limit or breaking point with a little hint of reluctance maybe while patience, acted from love, does not. We look at different perspectives and views through sharing and learning.
Some of the theatrical plays he introduced:
- Theatre that touches the heart and mind
- Fundamentally Happy
- Gemuk Girls
- God Eat God