Answers Activity 111


INTERVIEWER: I gather these drama courses which you are attending have really given you a new lease of life. Jennifer, can you try and explain the fascination you derive from a hard three-hour session at the college after a full day's work?
JENNIFER: Above all, each session is fun, it energises me. I actually go home with more energy on a Tuesday than any other day of the week. The reason is simple, I feel alive after the drama classes. At first I wasn't sure if I would enjoy the course; you have to relate to the others in the group. In fact most of the work is in small groups or at least in pairs and obviously the natural barriers between strangers exist. I can honestly say that from the first evening this did not bother me, and I'm not an extrovert by nature. In fact, if anything, I'm rather shy and reserved.
INTERVIEWER: And what about you, Harry?
HARRY: Well, as far as I'm concerned, drama classes have freed me, they've allowed me to be creative and successful in so many ways that I'm not, usually. I particularly enjoy the sessions when we just create something out of nothing, we improvise. There is usually some time in the evening when we make up either a character or a conversation or a situation and act that out with the others. The spontaneous nature of improvisation is what's so appealing to me.
JENNIFER: You can't 'get it wrong', you're having a go, that's all. I mean you just stand up and become another person for five minutes; perhaps you're like yourself or totally different, that doesn't matter. What counts is that you take on a new personality, and you actually become that person. And, since you invent the part, you can't be out of character and it's impossible to make mistakes. I expect this will change when we move onto text, won't it, Harry?
HARRY: Yes, yes, I'm really looking forward to using text in the classes and even to learning lines. I just find some text fascinating and can't wait to really work on it. Of course it will be different from improvisation, where we make up the parts we play, but I know you can lose yourself in a part, and playing it your way is going to be the challenge.
JENNIFER: Obviously, a specific part will be open to interpretation and a director may want you to do it in a certain way. Imagine playing a Shakespearean hero or heroine, well, there are bound to be different ways of saying those famous lines and the actor or actress may not agree with the director, but this is a stage we haven't reached yet. For the moment, it's about overcoming self-consciousness and learning to be sensitive. Last week we had a new person in the group and it became really clear that he hadn't tuned in to the way in which the classes work, you know, it was embarrassing really, he overdid it and tried to dominate the group, he didn't wait and watch and listen. This was when it struck me that we've been learning to listen to each other and to respond accordingly; and of course you bring yourself into it, but not too much and not too inappropriately.
HARRY: I couldn't agree more. He actually asked me personal questions which were intrusive and could have been saved for the tea break. I found it off the point and distracting. Well, I suppose he felt awkward too, but if I've learned anything this term, it's not to jump in, but to take my time and allow the others time by being patient when they are struggling with, for example, creating an unfamiliar character. The group has to develop together and the newcomer was an outsider. I guess it wasn't his fault, but he didn't seem interested in learning from the situation. That's probably what annoyed me.
JENNIFER: I'd be surprised if he came again. He didn't look comfortable.
INTERVIEWER: Would you say this receptiveness to each other is the key lesson so far, Jennifer?



How does Jennifer feel about working with strangers in the class?


A.    Resigned to the need for it.
  Doubtful about the value of it.
  Relaxed in her attitude towards it.
  Excited at the thought of it.


According to Harry, the improvisation sessions...


A.    require some careful preparation.
  enable him to use his imagination.
  allow him to show his acting talent.
  encourage him to relate to the group.


What does Jennifer say about improvisation?


A.    It is important not to make a mistake.
  It is necessary to be aware of the timing.
  You should be familiar with the character you invent.
  You need to be completely involved in the activity.


In Jennifer's opinion, playing written parts will...


A.    be less challenging than improvisation.
  include research into previous performances.
  involve guidance from an expert.
  lead to competition for parts.


Jennifer says that the drama classes have taught her how to...


A.    improve her interaction with people.
  manage groups of people.
  develop her natural acting skills.
  be satisfied with minor achievements.


Harry was annoyed because the newcomer to the group...


A.    interrupted the class by arriving late.
  was reluctant to participate.
  seemed unaware of the mood of the group.
  wasted the tea break with pointless questions.

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