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DEP Alternative Learning through Industry Mentorship
Blacks. Black Box. A lot of movement and being active – these are things the DEP class usually associates with workshops. Hearing that we would be attending a workshop on ‘Devising and Directing’ organized by the MOE, we expected no different.
However, the workshop was very different indeed. Held in LT3, and conducted in a sit-down seminar style, the workshop was immensely mentally engaging and thought-provoking.
We were first divided into groups and the Singapore Theatre Practitioner, Jonathan Lim, then shared his personal philosophy on directing – what it really meant to be a director and what directing really entailed. It was a thoroughly refreshing session that helped frame the process of devising and directing in a new mindset, with his constant reminder to focus on the our directorial visions and stay true to the text. Learning to approach the work with a directorial eye and revisiting the emotional core of Drama in a text was a fresh perspective that is commonly forgotten in the process of working through text as an actor.
After a tea break in the canteen and bonding with students from VJC and TPJC whom we met at previous MOE DEP workshops, it was back to work – this time with a Q-and-A session. If we had already learnt much from his sharing on what it means to direct, we learnt even more by having our questions answered. On top of realising that the concerns between all the three schools were not as different as we would have imagined, his remarkable honesty, insight and experience taught us a lot about presenting our self-directed and devised performances in a way that was compelling and truthful.
While the workshop’s content was already stellar, he also added examples from his own experience in the local theatre scene that gave us a peek into the ‘real world’ of Singaporean theatre and snippets of typical rehearsal processes. These anecdotes were particularly precious, because hearing an accomplished practitioner speak passionately about theatre and his practice was extremely contagious – his love for theatre filled whatever he spoke about, truly making it a very unique experience.
It was a memorable workshop for the DEP, helping to frame our states of mind in the preparation of our performance pieces. Jonathan Lim’s approach to his work is something we will try to carry into the devising and directing of our own pieces, in the hopes that his candid approach to directing and faithfulness to the truth of the text will remind us what Drama, amd our performance pieces, really are about.
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