In Drama, our unit is currently about speech-making, similar to one of our units last year. For our first speech, we had to talk between one and two minutes about something we are passionate about, or something we can easily talk about for that amount of time. Unlike other speeches, we were not allowed to use cue cards, so we had to memorize it, or at least memorize the basic idea of the speech. I decided to make my speech about books, because I love reading, and I didn’t think it would be very hard to make a speech on them. We also made a second speech on a given topic (either my neighborhood, the best day of my life, fashion, holidays or celebrities). For that one I chose to do holidays, although I think that my first speech was the best. Here is the video:
Out of the six modulation devices, volume, projection, pitch, pace, pause, emphasis and inflection, I think that my best one in this speech was pause. I am actually quite surprised about this, because last year I think that one of the things I always needed to work on was pause, I would always rush and run everything together to finish as fast as possible. I think that maybe this time I was more conscious of the length of my speech, because I had been worried that it would be too short. In this speech I used pause for several different reasons, for example listing things and leaving a break between different topics.
Of course I still have a lot of things to work on, and I think the main thing I need to improve on from this speech is volume. For some of the speech it was good, but sometimes I got too loud or too quiet. When I was speaking I tended to start a sentence loud and well, but then towards the end the energy would just die down and my voice would become little more than an undecipherable mumble. When that happened I started speaking faster as well as quieter, making it even harder to understand what I was saying. I think this is because I would forget what I was about to say, and then try to quickly get through what I did remember.
If you would like to see this one as well, here is a video of my second speech:
Another speech which was captivating in my opinion was Layna’s given topic speech. It was obviously very well prepared, and she had a lot of points to talk about while she was presenting. I liked the way that she sounded quite confident, but still not too confident while she was talking, because it gave the impression that she was relaxed but still focused. It was also quite an interesting speech for me to watch, because she chose the same topic as me, but interpreted it in a completely different way and talked about her favorite holiday instead of just the general subject. Here is her speech:
For me our first speech was both easy and difficult, because it was easy to talk about, but we didn’t get anything to help us while we were making the speech. I think that even though speech making is hard, it is a skill that everyone needs to learn to use in the future, so I hope that I improve throughout the rest of the unit and as I get older and have more practice with it.
Recently in drama, we have been watching some clips from silent films to learn more about body language. One was ‘Smile’ by Charlie Chaplin from Modern Times in 1936:
The film starts with a single word: dawn. In the scene, several emotions are being shown. First, the girl looks like she’s trying to keep busy, but she’s keeping her head down, and then she sighs. The boy isn’t really paying any attention to her, and he’s just tying his shoelaces. The girl suddenly buries her face in her arms and starts crying. Finally the man notices and helps her up, but she is still sad. Then the man encourages her to be confident, and she does. They walk down the road, but the man decides that she still isn’t really happy, so he tells her to smile, and she does. Finally, they walk away and gradually get farther and farther away from the camera until the film ends.
The actors show their emotion through facial expressions, gestures, and posture. At the beginning, the woman shows that she’s a bit sad by looking down and absentmindedly tying a cloth together. A really important part is that you can see that she sighs, which gives the audience a clue of her emotions. When she starts crying, her expression is mainly from her posture, because she’s bent down and shaking.
When the man is trying to boost her confidence, he shows it by sitting up straighter, putting a stern look on his face and shaking his fist in an encouraging way. He starts to bend towards her, and as all this is happening, the woman starts to get more confident. She also has a stern expression, and is holding her hands together while pushing out her elbows. While they’re walking down the street, the man looks at her with a concerned expression. He smiles and traces it on his face, encouraging her to do the same. She does, and they continue walking down the street, with big smiles on their faces.
Watching silent films is really fun and interesting, because sometimes the movements seem too over the top, but it actually has to be that way. I really enjoyed this experience in drama, and I look forward to what we will do in the future.
Last week in Drama, we learned more about mime, and did an activity where we have to open a door. There’s a problem though, the door is locked, and with a partner you have to find a way to open it and go through. I was partners with Layna, here’s our video:
Originally, our solution was going to be to crawl through a cat door, but then we decided that it might be too unrealistic. We ended up pretending to use a hairpin to unlock the door. First me and Layna walk up to the door and she tries to open it, but it’s locked. Then I take a hairpin out and put it in the lock, which clicks open. Then we just walk through the door and I close it.
One of the hardest parts of this kind of exercise is probably trying to keep the doorknob in the right position, because a lot of times people change the shape of it, or move it up or down. In this case, I think we did a pretty good job at that, except it looks a bit weird when Layna keeps her hand there until I’m holding it, but we thought that would be the easiest solution to the problem. My main mistake was probably with the hairpin, because first I take it out, but when I put it back in my hair, it looks a bit like it just flies away somewhere.
Mime is a really difficult part of acting, because you pretty much only have yourself to work with. Because of that, it is a really important and helpful skill to learn to use, because it can come in handy a lot in drama and in everyday life. People use body language without even realizing it, but when it comes to acting, you might forget about it, because you’re focused on remembering your lines. If you just do that it looks a bit strange, because the audience can’t see your emotions. I think this activity was a really fun way to start off the unit, because you can easily see what you are already good at, and what you need to improve on.