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ISSEA Art and Drama| Second Day Summary!

Erik Hutter, Tara Case, and Tunde Kachingwe

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The second day of ISSEA Art and Drama began with warm up exercises for both the drama and visual arts students. During the warm up the students walked around in the grassy area in front of the high school art room. When the drama director from ISK called different commands, the artists had to partner up with whomever they were closest to. That person became their “hand buddy”, “foot buddy”, or “elbow buddy”. From then on, during the different warm up exercises, the participants would group up with their buddies to form larger groups. After the morning exercises the art and drama students split up and went to the workshops. A few workshops that attracted the attention of the Warthogs’ World journalists today included:

 

Printmaking workshop: by Evans Tinashe

Printmaking is the making printouts by etching designs into specially prepared blocks, painting them and then using them to print. The printmaking workshop at ISSEA, hosted by Evans Tinashe who is a Zimbabwean printing artist, taught students how to do exactly that. The course was interesting as students inclined to cooperate with each other. Many HIS students who are familiar with the art form assist younger students from other school who are yet to learn how to use the tools. Students drew inspiration from their own interests, whether it’s patterns, nature, or abstract themes like Africa’s inter connectivity. The students were excited to work with a new media, and they were looking forward for the outcome of their projects and specifically how their themes would be projected in their designs. Many also found that the workshop was very enlightening and that it allowed them to be more intellectual about patterns and their representations. The overall process was interesting to watch as students carve out the patterns with deadly precision and care, results are beautiful printouts that can be seen on the ISSEA Facebook page.

Evans Tinashe, the leader of the workshop, said that “the interesting part of this workshop is that students are willing to catch on very quickly and take a great interest”.

 

Crazy Crashcourse in Voice: by Zane E. Lucas

The teacher of this “crazy” workshop was Zane E. Lucas, who has been a teacher for musical actors for a long time. He started his career studying as a classical singer/actor. Prior to any activity, he told the students that in order to make the emotions portrayed by your body seem real, one has to sound like they feel that way. He showed the students how to create certain sounds using different parts of the body. “The most important part”, Lucas says, “is the diaphragm”. Before one can start using their voice, they need to learn how to breathe properly using the diaphragm. The abdominal muscles play a very important role in this progress. After the breathing exercises Lucas explained that different letters of the alphabet use different muscles in the abdomen, face, and tongue. Slowly the workshop went through the consonants of the alphabet carefully, pronouncing every letter and thinking how it sounds different to the next. It occurred that some letters use the same muscles, for example: “P” & “B” or “M” & “N”. Lucas was very careful to only use consonants because vowels are pronounced differently than consonants when singing. Lastly the letter “Z” created a huge debate on whether it’s pronounced “zed” or “zee”. Creating sounds with the voice is very similar yet different to using musical instruments. One uses the vocal cords in the throat like guitar strings to create one sound, and a resonator like the chest or head, just like a drum or piano, to create another. Lucas urged the participants to be careful with their vocal cords because they are one of the most delicate organs in the human body and can be damaged easily. The workshop ended with mixed feelings as some students took a literal twist on the “crazy” aspect of the workshop. However, many other students learned a lot about their voice and how to use it efficiently.

 

Movement and Mime: by Jamie Patricia McLauren

This workshop, led by the teacher Jamie Patricia McLaren, has to be one of the most interesting workshops in ISSEA. The workshop had a unique start; McLaren started playing music and urged the students to dance to it. At first most students were startled, being told to dance however they want in front of people they have only recently met, but eventually all the students lost their barrier and danced like nobody was watching. The music was then turned off and a new song started playing. The students were supposed to now continue dancing, but off-rhythm. This was a difficult challenge that only few very enthusiastic students overcame. The movements looked clunky and funny and McLaren explained why: “When we dance off-rhythm we don’t feel comfortable and we can’t really let oneself go, but when we dance with the beat, we feel connected and comfortable. The beat controls what you do”. After the excitement over the introductory activity had calmed, McLaren made the students lie on their backs and completely let go. Breathing activities, like breathing into your fingertips, toes, pelvis and finally in the entire body, relaxed all the students. Some of the students said they felt like they were “meditating” or “lucid dreaming”. To understand the complexity of miming McLaren created multiple activities and games where students would show emotion solely through their body rather than facial expressions. Throughout the workshop students learned how to take control of their body language by acting out assigned scenarios. One, for example, was supposed to pick up an imaginary slug and show disgust of it, without facial expression, which showed all the participants how important facial expressions are when acting. All in all the students had a great time and most learned a lot of new skills and things they look out for when acting now.

 

Additional drama activities included stage combat and improvisation, where the students learned how to think on their feet and keep the dialogue going.

 

After their first activity the drama students split into ensembles where they started putting together their own performances for the ISSEA closing ceremony, which will take place tomorrow. Additionally, all throughout the day Elisha Rangwani, a local Zimbabwean stone carver, was carving a warthog out of soapstone in front of the high school art room.

 

After an early dinner the art and drama students came together to visit the Reps theatre, where they watched the dress rehearsals for the play 39 Steps in which one of the drama workshop instructors, and former HIS music teacher, Kevin Hanssen plays an key role.

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