What do you picture of when you think of a drama CCA? A bunch of wacky, eccentric people running around carrying props and wearing costumes, yelling lines at each other? Or a group of eloquent, enthusiastic speakers with a passion for the stage? Or possibly even a bunch of slackers hoping to get the necessary portfolio statement but get away with merely painting props? Well, VJC Drama doesn’t fully fit these stereotypes. Wacky, yes. Enthusiastic, definitely yes. But slackers – probably not.
I personally joined VJC Drama due to an acting bug that bit me way back in Secondary One. It happened because the first time I participated in a play, there was this feeling I got in the last moment, when the entire cast and crew got on stage for the curtain call. Amidst the harsh glow of yellow lights beaming down on us, in stark contrast with the dimmed hall, the sweat causing my shirt to cling to my back, the applause, the cheering and clapping, there was this feeling of satisfaction, of sheer triumph for having done something, and done that something well (and well, also a slight sense of relief for not having flubbed any of my lines…).
After that, there was many other performances throughout my secondary school life, each of them basking me in that same feeling of accomplishment. It just kept feeling like what we did – all those months of staying back late to go over lines and blocking (the actions on stage) over and over, to the point of nearly reaching the actor’s bane that is autopilot, the props team staying back even later than that to ensure that the props were neatly painted and as unscratched as possible- was worth it. So, in essence, I had to do it again (and if you’re asking why I didn’t just go do TSD, I wanted to keep acting as a leisure activity, without the pressure of depending on it for an important exam).
Now you may be thinking, ‘Damn, there’s no way I can join if everyone’s as experienced as that. How can I compare?’ Stop right there. You don’t need experience at all. You don’t need anything, really – not good diction, not voice projection skills, not even an ability to express yourself. Well, having them is a plus, but they are not strictly compulsory. We have members coming from all kinds of CCAs – sports teams, uniform groups, clubs and societies… And, when given the chance, they have all proven themselves to be fantastic actors, because all that is necessary is a willingness to learn, participate and work at it. There really isn’t anything stopping you from shining on stage (then you’d get to feel that thrill that you get from performing – it’s one of the best things ever, so seriously, go for it!).
Okay, now onto something a little more boring. Here’s what I like to term the Open House talk – it’s basically a laundry list of events you’ll get to participate in should you join the CCA (so prepare yourself – it’s a little boring, but what you have to know, you have to know). There are 2 to 3 performances every year, the main ones being Drama Night, which is the major one held during VJ’s concert season, and SNL, a smaller one held around July, where you get to perform in the smaller, slightly more intimate setting of the LT AVA. Oh, and to answer the Frequently Asked Question of “whether SNL stands for Saturday Night Live?” No, it does not. It stands for Sketch Night Live actually, because sketches are precisely what you’ll be performing. For the former, you get to do it with your seniors, but for the latter, it’s just your batch, which is fantastic for bonding. Personally, I really enjoyed both events, though I didn’t really have that huge an involvement in Drama Night last year (I was just an usher). But you’ll probably get a chance at Drama Night this year if you join! (For fear of spoilers, I’m not going to be saying anymore). And SNL was ridiculously fun – we got to do some funny skits, which were enjoyable for both the performers and the audience (though admittedly, our seniors have done dramatic and tragic ones as well). To be honest, this was where I played my biggest role to date – I had more lines than ever before, and I closed the show alone on stage, which feels like an honour upon looking back. For Drama Night this year, yours truly will be performing – in an even bigger role. I am so excited about it.
I know that VJC Drama does not have the best reputation – for our last two SYFs we got Participation and Accomplishment, which is a far cry from other CCA’s consistent Distinctions, which often seems at odds with the fact that our school offers TSD (we don’t quite know why either). But as a CCA, it has provided me with a series of experiences I will never forget. I received great opportunities, and have gotten to know some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Perhaps this is because we’re such a small group (we literally have about the same number of people as a class), but either way I’m really glad to have joined.
I hope this article has given you a not-too-boring peek into what life is like as a VJC Drama member (and maybe made you consider it as a possible choice!) All I have to leave you with now is this lesson I’ve learnt from my time on the stage – Do not be afraid to do something that you think that will make you look silly. Sometimes, it is in this absence of fear that you can achieve greater things, and reap greater rewards. Yes, it sounds tacky and clichéd even to me, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
(Now I’m going to insert a cheap plug for Drama Night- COME FOR IT. It’ll be fun!)
Yeong Su Ann, 15A12