The other day, I was spazzing out over how Players is finally going to do an alumni production, and Dewei asked me why I liked acting so much; and I replied some nonsense about how I know I can do theatre or some ridiculous thing like that. And I was thinking about it a little more and I realised that there was more to it than that (obviously).
Well for one, Theatre is the only art form that I’ve actively engaged in for the past six years of my life. I hardly wrote anything once JC started, only bits of unfinished poetry-babies, and even then, they were terrible. I never realised how long this Drama thing has been until I started thinking about it. Granted, the first two years of Drama in Secondary school was just about playing theatre games and having fun. And I realised that I’ve learnt a lot of different things over the course of these six years (well, of course I did), and it’s pretty cool to see where I started and where I am now. I mean, at least for me, acting is the only art form that I’ve been able to see myself improve in as I practiced more and more. For writing, I was never sure if I was getting better, and I couldn’t be sure if I was progressing; but when it comes to Drama, I can sort of see myself improving each time. That’s probably what I meant when I told Dewei that I liked acting because I’m good at it; it’s more of a because I can see myself getting better, and hence I know I’m good at it, because I know how far I’ve come since I first started.
I remember how painfully self-conscious I was in Secondary school; and when I think back about how much I held myself back because I was too shy to experiment, I feel like hitting myself. I’ll forever be grateful to Deep and Josie for pushing me so much during Boom, because it really helped me get out of that phase, and realise that there was no point feeling so doubtful of myself. And I think if Sec4!Rei-En were to see present!Rei-En, she probably wouldn’t think we were the same person.
Another reason why I love acting is because it’s performing in front of an audience. The energy is amazing amazing, and I’ll always remember the first night of Boom, when the lights came on, and I just felt this sudden surge of energy from the audience, and from the others on-stage; and at that moment, I was hooked. This sounds overly dramatic, haha the irony, but every time I think of Boom, that’s one of the first images that pops into my head. At that moment, I had never felt so at home anywhere else before, so sure of what I was doing.
I love how you can watch the audience’s reaction while the play goes on, while you’re on stage. In St Nicks, this used to scare the crap out of me because of AWong’s judgemental Drama-Assessment face, and because I was so afraid that everyone would think I suck, and that would show on their face. But I think that’s one of the more magical things about Theatre, that the audience shapes the way that the play goes; well, they don’t exactly have a direct impact on the play (like changing lines or scenes or whatever), but the type of audience influences the little nuances of the play, the little subtle actions and intonations. I remember how for Chamber Readings, on the first night, I was so happy that there was this one person beaming so widely in the audience, that it changed the way I did my scene, not exactly in a huge drastic way; but sort of still different.
It’s just that sense of connection to the other actors, and to the audience. The sense that you’re telling a story, and you’re taking everyone with you on a journey that I find so magical about Theatre.
And I guess why I love to act so much is because of the freedom it gives me. Every time I start a new production, I get a little bit self-conscious, and that’s probably the awkward part of me surfacing. But I love the idea that I could be anyone. And to me, it just lets me show a different side of me — I may act like a kid most of the time, but I’m not a kid inside. And acting allows me to show that other aspects of my character. To challenge the idea that I’m just an immature kid, to show that I can be someone else, I am more than just that stereotype I sometimes present myself to be. I love that freedom, that possibility of being someone totally different.
I guess, acting allows me to use my experiences, feelings that I’ve locked away, and produce something that is worthwhile. To take all that negative emotions inside of me and make it productive, or rather, something that I’m proud of. It’s a form of catharsis I suppose, a way of coming to terms with issues that I’ve had; to know that even if they may feel dark and toxic at times, they’re still a part of me, and I can make them work for me. I guess it’s just a way to take control of things.
This is such an awkwardly written post, but I just wanted to get it out of my system before I sleep! Goodnight y’all.