In this week's blog, Lauren in Year 11 is thrilled to share with you her wonderful experience at the recent FOBISIA Senior Drama Festival.
It all started weeks before when my friends and I were excited about what would come. This festival did not disappoint. The festival began on the night we arrived in Brunei, where we had time to bond with the students from JIS, ISB and BSM and had a tour of the marvellous facilities of Jerudong International School (JIS).
The next day, we began the fun of creating immersive theatre from scratch based on the play “Metamorphosis” by Steven Berkoff, based on the short story by Franz Kafka, where the sole breadwinner of the Samsa family turns into a giant bug and is shunned by his family. Before this trip, I had never experienced immersive theatre, let alone created it. We split into three companies and began the day by doing workshops with different teachers. Then, after lunch, we began our company time and started brainstorming our ideas for the many spaces we were given.
My company, Company Three, was lucky enough to get The Caves, a series of rooms underneath the stage, which we felt inspired to recreate as a nightmarish version of the Samsa family home.
On Saturday, we began turning our dreams into a reality. We started by building the set in the morning and tried to find props that added to the naturalistic vibe we were going for. However, the story itself wasn’t naturalistic or realistic, so we played around with the idea of hanging giant forks and knives over the kitchen and dining space we had created. Another crazy idea was to fill one of the smaller rooms with dirt and pieces of paper that said things like “HELP ME” or “I'M STILL THE SAME OLD GREGOR”. Amy and I tore up the carpet, started tearing apart pieces of fake grass, and walked to the school’s Outdoor Discover Centre to get a bucket of dirt. That afternoon, we created characters and reviewed the props we would interact with. We needed a way to get the audience curious, so we began to hide props and little “Easter eggs” for the audience to find.
We also took the time to consider our little “routines” and movements, which we would repeat three times before we all acted like zombies and started doing the same thing. Furthermore, we performed and recorded our ‘Soundscape’ in the ‘Cupcake’ recording space and JIS’s professional recording studio. We designed it to be seven minutes long, so it was repeated on a loop three times to create a final piece. We repeated everything three times so the audience could watch a different person each time and follow them wherever they were off.
Sunday was performance day. The thing about performances is that you never know what will happen, and performances will always be different. Our company went first, and seeing how different the real thing was when we were rehearsing was interesting. The audience could move anything and everything they wanted to, so it was hard for us to keep track of the props we were supposed to use. However, things still went impeccably smoothly. I always enjoy performing and always have and always will, but this was different because the audience was on “stage” with you. They were all wearing masks, and it felt weird to have six people in white masks crowd around me to read a letter I was reading. It was exciting, and it was a fantastic first experience.
I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and made some awesome new friends and long-lasting memories. I cannot wait for next year!