In that evening, when I saw college schedule which shows all activities that we should do throughout the year, my eyes was focusing to one activity that PIP lecturers who teach English must do; DRAMA FEST. It sounds grand and seems great. For me, it depends on how you interpret it. Perhaps it is just a role play, some lecturers say it is a short theatre, but most PIP students need this activity to get 10% of their carry marks. Hmm...in this post, I want to share my experience altogether with my students from two classes; PIP 1 and PIP 5 who performed their drama on October 19 and 20 2009.
For the first phase, we started the project on week 10 where I gave the compilation of fairy tales. Cinderella, Beauty and The Beast, Rapunzel, Goldilocks and Three Bears, Thumbellina, Jack and The Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood and so forth. When I gave these stories without giving them the authorities to choose, some of them moaned and some of them accepted it without excuses. But, hey...I wasn't close minded and let the students felt upset about it, so I discussed with them. "Those who want to change the fairy tale that I gave you, please see me after the class". Like what I expected, there were some groups of student who wanted to change the given short story. THE SHINE felt uneasy with "Goldilocks and Three Bears". Their reasons was they don't like the bears character. (Even though I think the bears in this short story is cute and not too wild...hehehe). I suggested to them. "What about The Beauty and The Beast?". It seemed that they like it or maybe they are familiar with this story. I wasn't sure. Other groups like ARAMAITIE and LUCKY LAKI didn't like the stories that I suggested to them at first but I guessed they got no choice so they had to choose "Rapunzel" and "Jack and The Beanstalk". I tried to give different short stories to different groups. (It is to make sure that we will watch the same drama presentation every night...huhu). This is because I don't want them to copy to each other when they want to do the drama documentation. When I gave the short stories to all groups, this is the time for them to start READING. Reading means understanding. When it went to this process, some students moaned again. "Why this text is difficult to read?". Well, reading is a process and of course it takes time. One of the factor that I thought made them difficult to read is because the words used in those text are not familiar for them. Plus, the culture which exist in most of short stories is Medieval English not Modern English or Malay or at least Malaysian setting. (I just laughed when they tried to figure out the meaning of certain words like "RAMPION", "ENCHANTRESS", " MERCHANT", "SWALLOW", "COTTAGE" and so forth). At least they learnt new words and learn new culture. For me, this process will involve students with the reading abilities and enrich their vocabularies.
The reading skills need students to analyze few aspects or elements in short stories which brought them to the next phase . Yet, they should know what should they analyze ? Definitely they have to go through elements like character, characterization, plot, setting, message and theme. Perhaps my students would grumble "Why there are lots of things to do in drama?"hmmm, and I answered "It is because to have a very good drama performance, you should undergo many processes before you get the best product." I would use a delicious plate of Fried Rice as a illustration of it; to produce the best fried rice, you must have good ingredients, kitchen utensil, experience, knowledge, skills and maybe luck. I asked again to myself "What should my students analyze?"hmm...of course they should know first about character and characterization in those stories. What on earth is character? What are the differences between character and characterization? They seems similar. I explained confidently to my students "Character refers to a person, people, animal or anything that are very important and play certain roles in short stories". I hope they understood. Hehehe...Actually I had just simplified the term from "Eight Edition: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry and Drama" by X.J Kennedy and Dana Gioia. "What about characterization?" I asked them again. Nobody answer my question. So again, I have to answer my own question like a stupid man. "Characterization can be categorised with two; character traits (attitudes) and physical traits." "Can you give examples from the fairy tales that you gave to us, sir?" asked one of my students trickily, trying to get the answers from me. "Start reading now!" ordered me to ensure that they would apply the knowledge that they had learnt on that day.
Climax? It sounded so "alien" to my students but they need to know to continue to the next phase. I tried to give hint to them. "Plot..., Do you know what is plot?". Again, they showed a blurred face while shrugging innocently. This was to show that they never heard that word before? Then as usual, I explained wholeheartedly to my students "Plot is a storyline that consist Beginning, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action and Ending,". Suddenly they reacted "Oooohhhhh....I used to hear to those words."What the old trick?" I whispered. Actually they tried to say that they knew but had forgotten about it. Of course I was not trapped with their reasons. I challenged them again "If you know what is plot, can you tell me what is climax and how do you identify it in short story?". This time they showed their mimic face, pretending that they understood and knew the answers...(To be continued)