I recall the first time I faced an audience—it was way back in kindergarten and I had to dress up as ‘tidy’ versus my counterpart ‘untidy’. I remember being squeaky clean in a cotton frock which my mom had stitched herself with tiny black and orange clovers printed on it. I have a hazy recollection of facing lines of chairs and saying my lines in automaton.
A clearer memory of myself being on stage is in Grade 1 at Mama Parsi School. It was an elocution and my father had trained me to recite the poem ‘Why’. I recall vividly knocking knees and a thumping heart under my starched white uniform.
Ever since then I have been put in the position of facing an audience umpteen times in school elocutions and debates as well as hosting programs at University. And every time the stress of public speaking is felt. The adrenalin rush accompanied with a dry throat and a pumping heart is experienced even today when giving a training or making announcements in assembly. Yet, once the words begin to pour out, the anxiety ebbs and then there’s no stopping.
Yesterday, the Primary section of MSB Shabbirabad put up an enactment—a colourful medley of skits– at the Jamea auditorium and it was a treat to behold the young tots of Grade 1 to the more mature Grade 4 students face such a large audience with confidence and poise and perfectly rehearsed lines.
It is certainly events like these and not just lessons out of a book, which infuse impressionable children with confidence and give them the valour to curb their nerves and put their fears behind them. It gives them the focus to complete a task and work in a team. These are the very lessons which will slowly and gradually sculpt an admirable personality. Such are experiences which will give them the drive to take on their future with focus and verve and push their qualms behind them in the face of challenges.
Over the last 13 years of my teaching career I have never failed to see diamonds come out of an enactment and shine for the rest of their lives. Be it the dramatic version of King Lear put up seven years ago, or the rendering of The Seven Ages of Man five years back; be it the Merchant of Venice last year or the termly elocutions—the participants always walk away rejuvenated and resculpted—a classier version of their old self. It is these students who have an edge in life; you dare and who dream.
After all, “All the world’s a stage
and all the men and women merely players
They have their exits and their entrances
and one man in his time plays many parts…”
We all play our parts; we all wear our masks. We all perform to the best of our abilities.
Amate Syedna TUS