It is after a very long time that I am writing about my first experience with the theatre. I attended two different short workshops related to the theatre during the weekends. I still recall that my first experiences on the stage as an actor were at the ages of eight and ten when I played Joseph for the nativity scene. Though it was a small role, I still recall the importance played by the character.
Why theatre? I wished to experiment with different activities and theatre was one such activity for which I never had any formal initial training. Besides some of my initial experiences during my childhood, I wanted to comprehend it formally. Though two small workshops may not help me fully discover the world of theatre, I wanted to learn about theatre, where language, interactions, and expressivity intermingle. I still recall this experience as a "computer science researcher meeting theatre during adulthood".
This is an analysis of my personal experience. During the two workshops, I got the opportunity to meet many other novices and even some experienced people wishing to explore new ideas. There were people from different professions, amateurs, and of different ages, willing to explore new horizons. The idea of some experienced people coming to the class is not something new, but witnessing it personally as a learner was a completely new experience. Through the different exercises done during the workshops, I felt like submerging myself in multiple points of view of people.
I learned several lessons. The workshops allowed me to express different emotions in a couple of days. It is very different to be happy, sad, or angry in real life than when the instructor asks you to express them intentionally during the class. Various body movements and facial expressions could reveal these emotions and each one of us had different ways to express ourselves.
Time and again, I wonder about the jobs of the future. What would happen when the machines may replace all our human jobs? Will we be finally able to explore our human creativity and express our full human potential? Will arts and music be the future of humans? Human creativity and potential have always been about imagining the unimagined and coming up with surprises. And this may sometimes require occasional rendezvous between novices, amateurs, and experts. Can humans automate our imagination and surprises? Are these beyond automation?
The toughest part for me as a novice was the improvisational theatre. I found it difficult since I had no script at hand. Furthermore, the task became more difficult when the person before you is a total stranger- an amateur, or possibly an expert. When there is no script, there are no expected behaviors or sentences. The person before you may employ funny or a serious tone. This possible (and sometimes even quick) change of roles taken by some participants was one exercise that I would not forget despite its difficulty.
The workshops ended with a real stage play, with some real lights focusing on you. Although, I have spoken at multiple conferences, having a spotlight on my face was something very new. I guess that I had experienced my first stage-fear.
Following these workshops, I also assisted as an audience to other improvisational theatre performances and associated competitions. In real improvisational settings, the performers have the freedom to choose their ways to express themselves. They could use music, comedy, and even take some serious roles. The most difficult part for me is when the audience decides the topics. What makes it more complicated for such a performance is the mix of two or more audience-specified topics
They say that practice lets us perfect an art, yet improvisation on a stage with some unexpected topics is where I see the human creativity, far away from the automation and the programmed random or serendipitous behaviors by the machines.