Maybe you remember Guy from last month’s article. In addition to the great personal benefits of acting he relayed last time, he told me, “From childhood we learn to serve others… and when it comes to doing something for our own sake, we hear too often: “I don’t have time.” When are we going to make time? When we are sick and old?
“We see people jogging around the dam, windsurfing at the beach or drinking with friends in a pub. They find time for themselves. And I too have found it in learning improv and taking acting lessons. When you attend a play or an improv night, it’s about entertainment, of course, but it’s also about watching people who know how to serve themselves.”
Modt, a young Thai lady who recently took to the stage for the first time in her life with us in Surprise!, one of the plays in Love Bites, our dinner theatre evening of short comic plays on love and marriage, said, “The biggest thing I have gained from my participation in a play is confidence. I didn’t think I would be able to do it, but I overcame that fear through rehearsals and finding out that practice makes perfect. Well, maybe not perfect yet, but definitely better.
It’s very difficult for me to put myself out there emotionally, but playing the role of Esther in Surprise! helped me understand and become her. In addition, it made me believe that I can do anything that I put my mind to.
“Theatre has also helped me socialise and has brought me a lot of new friends, people I might not have seen or talked to if I wasn’t in the play. It’s been wonderful meeting new people, exchanging new ideas and just having general conversation.
“It’s also a great getaway activity. Usually after work I’d just go home and have dinner, but being around the theatre has given me a lot of energy and motivation, making me feel free as if I am in another world. Acting has now become my favourite activity and my newfound hobby.
“Unlike watching a movie, when watching live theatre there is a real social element to it: talking with others about the play and motivating the actors through your laughter, tears, applause and more. There is a connection you won’t find in watching a movie.”
Gigi from Belgium, an accomplished and multitalented lady who has successfully sailed around the world, is also a lifelong theatre enthusiast. She had this to say: “I have been acting with Theatrix for the last four years, from its earliest beginnings here in Phuket, because I learned a long time ago that participating in theatre on a regular basis increases my ability to perform better. Being part of a dynamic group and practising an activity like this that I enjoy thoroughly are elements that I value as a person.
“Through practising improv and participating in live performances, I embrace my creative side and continually allow it to grow. And, don’t forget, the positive reaction of an audience is exhilarating!
“From practising improv and theatre in general, you increase your skills in public speaking and create synergy through performing with other people. A key to good acting is listening before talking, which is key in our personal and social relations as well.
“Anything live is way better than watching movies. There is a human involvement that just never happens in other more passive activities. As a youngster, I had the chance to go and see many plays which created the passion I have for theatre. At university, directing my own theatre group was a fulfilling experience, and still playing today is part of my lifestyle. I love it!
“Regularity is key to improving your skills in any domain and I have been committed to acting for many years and hopefully will be for many years to come.”
Andre from England, one of our regular improvisers and actors, told me, “When I was seven in school, I was elected to be a vicar in a marriage ceremony scene. I decided to imitate a comedian called Dick Emery who did a funny rendition of a typical upper class English vicar with big teeth. The breakthrough moment came during the performance when I noticed everyone was laughing.
“From that point on, I realised that people seemed to respond to something that I didn’t really understand myself, and yet seemed to happen when I performed. It’s the magic effect of mass approval. I’ve been hooked ever since.
“An added, unbargained-for benefit of acting happened when I was in a play directed by my girlfriend. In the play I got to snog a very attractive young lady. That was a bit much for me, kissing another lady in front of my girlfriend, but she was fine with it. The lady and I always came away from it red-faced, but it was fun, I must admit.
“This is one of the things about acting that is so great. Not the fact that you sometimes get the chance to kiss a pretty girl (although it was good), but that you have to let go of that puritanical judge that otherwise suppresses the life energy in people by insisting they always do the right thing.
“Acting works when it liberates people from their subjective heaviness. It takes us out of our overworked heads and into our feelings and even our hearts. It shows us that we are all fundamentally the same, living lives of both suffering and enjoyment.
“Acting brings us together and shows us ourselves and that everything is really all right.”
Come and join Theatrix on Saturday, Mar 30 at Shanti Lodge at 7pm for another fun and interactive improv night.