the inner workings of the human mind and soul, for the heart and mind
are the true soul of the camera.
We should do all we can to protect drama in schools. It enables students to understand the richness and fullness of our experiences, at the same time as developing in them important skills and attributes. Indeed, self-confidence, empathy and the ability to communicate clearly and confidently - all of which are promoted through drama - are what universities, colleges and employers say they are looking for in the adults of the future.
But drama is not merely an ‘instrumental’ subject. As a discipline in its own right, it stands there alongside other key subjects like mathematics, history and science. Indeed, the insights derived through drama go to the very heart of what it means to be human. In these turbulent and changing times, what better justification for drama can there be than building the strength to cope with the complexities of life?
My time in Puerto Rico only solidifies the fact that dramatic artistry has a significant impact on educational attainment. In “The Aesthetics of the Oppressed,” Augusto Boal shares an image of a tree, the tree of the oppressed. In the trunk of the tree - as a foundation - are games, image theatre, and forum theatre. The leaves hanging from the branches of the tree are newspaper theatre, rainbow of desire, direct actions, and invisible theatre, and at the very top of the tree is legislative theatre. The most important are the roots of sound, image and words – for they are all ways dramatic artistry exists and contributes to the soil of educational attainment in ethics, solidarity, philosophy, politics, multiplication and our history (Boal pg. 2-7). Like this tree, I compare humanity - all connected and ever evolving together. One of the biggest moments for me on this trip is when I realized why I am such an advocate for theatre; it represents life, participating in it as engaged members, breathing and living human connection. Augusto Boal states, “Theatre is the most natural form of learning, and the most primal, since the child learns to live by means of theatre, playing, acting characters – and, through the other arts, looking at himself and painting, singing and dancing” (pg. 37). It is true. The child must not only learn to live in our society, but they must also learn to question it (Boal pg. 37). Like Boal, I believe in the truth that even though not all people are Artists by profession, every human being is born a creator and an artist (pg. 18), so participating in dramatic artistry is a natural way for us to learn and be are true selves.
The reflection will never end. From living through the heart warming memories of the Puerto Rico trip, I have learned that it is very important for teaching artists to develop ongoing strategies to reflect on their work. There are multiple ways to have a successful reflection process. An ultimate way to reflect on one’s work may be to think of potential research questions, curiosities to explore and grow from. Teaching artists can collaborate with their colleagues to hear about their personal stories and beliefs. Teaching artists can also observe, keep journal writings, write down critical incidents, execute interviews or they can hold “reflection booths” – a space to privately confess their deepest thoughts to a camera. All of this collected, analyzed data is crucial to the reflection of the past, so we can learn and continue to grow.