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Bali is Amazing :D

Culture varies from door to door as you go down the very street you live in. You may live in the same community, but in your home, you may tend to live your life very differently as compared to many others. On a larger perspective of the whole cultural issue, we do own up to a national culture, even if its in a cosmopolitan, the majority of us have an idea of what it means to be proud of our respective nationalities.

This blog post stems from a recent practical exam that I had in my academic pursuit of the Performing Arts The course, Asian and African Theatre examined the various forms of Theatre that are not common to the Western World, but rather distinct in the various regions of Africa and Asia. While I do understand that with all theatrical studies, it is important to have a practical feel of the theory examined, I must admit that this was the first time I literally felt ashamed of what I was doing. Not because I was bare chested, or because I felt like a fool on stage. This was the first time I felt as if I should not have interfered with what I had learnt.

Our group was given the topic "Magic in Bali: Ritual vs Tourism." Bali is a small island in the Pacific ocean that boasts of a unique form of Hinduism known as Balinese Hinduism. Like with most who come across this tiny  island, I fell in love with its environment, its people and their cultural practices. Apart from its economic hold on the ornamental fish industry, and the benefits of coral reefs that exist in the surrounding seas, Bali has a uniqueness that is incomparable to its neighbours. Even though Bali has been influenced by Java and Indonesia; from what we have learnt, Bali has remained unique in what it has to offer.

There are many secular dances that take place near temples around Bali. One in particular is known as the Legong which is usually danced by women. This form of dance takes extensive years to learn, with precise movements narrowed to the shifting of the eyeballs against the backdrop of traditional Balinese music. Males are known for the Kecak dance, that illustrates the story of the Ramayana. It speaks mostly of Lord Hanuman and the battle he faced when rescuing Sita from the Demon God that kidnapped her. This dance is normally done in a circle and involves a series of chants or “caks” alongside the bodily movements of the hands and fingers. With a group of 20 or more men, the ‘performance’ can be quite a spectacle. 

Our group had decided to re create the Kecak dance as much as we could. However, it was known to us that we could NOT re create Bali. The truth of the matter is… no one can. In order to see Bali, you have to go there and experience the wonder of the country for yourself. We tired making ‘saputs’ which are loin cloths that are checkered black and white. We had to suffice using white tetrex cloth, stale black paint, an old paintbrush and a piece of paper to help smudge the material. We got woven baskets, and picked brightly coloured flowers. I was at least very proud that one of my colleagues and I were able to find hibiscus and frangi pani flowers that are customarily used in the Balinese traditions. For the kecak dance, also known as the monkey dance, we had Hanuman incense. We also had a lota, a taria, and a havan kund to help us recreate the central fire. 

The kecak dance itself is physically exhausting. To begin with, it was difficult to lead the group and also to even learn the moves. It amazes me that in Bali the individuals who do these dances are people who have varied professions. The people who dance are the doctors, the lawyers, the construction workers etc. This is their daily life, and its a part of who they are. These rehearsals are done after work hours. Its a part of their culture and EVERYONE is involved. The manner in which our group approached this in my honest opinion, was not done in complete reverence. Everyone seem so pre occupied with attaining the highest mark. At the end of the day, I was more than satisfied with just passing.

I guess I feel this way mainly because of the readings that I was cramming for my final written exam for African and Asian Theatre. I read that Balinese people are very particular about their culture and traditions. In Bali there are different types of dances and some of them require masks. Topeng masks for example are extremely sacred and must be taken good care of. There are even some masks that must be kept covered at all times. In my readings I saw how lengthy the process is. From the moment that the wood is taken from a tree, prays and rituals must be said and done, in order to make the mask what it is. The specific wood used, is left to dry, before it can even be carved. The alkaloids in the wood can prove very toxic for the bearer of the mask, and as such the wood is left to dry for the alkaloids to become absent.  Even during its carving and development various prays are said intermittently. Its painting is usually done by grinding various natural elements. Commercial paints are often used, but few mask makers paint it the traditional way, since the length of time it takes to use natural elements is much longer.

Because these people are so particular about their culture. It was very hard to accept my meager attempt at the Kecak dance. During our presentation we talked to each other, trying to sort out last minute details and even at the very last minute, changed our concept. It indeed was a very frustrating day.

Have you guys ever had a presentation go wrong? Or never felt that comfortable with it? Have you ever had to dance in loin cloth and nothing else? Let me know what are your thoughts on the Balinese culture… It truly is amazing!!!

Always looking at life,

Shahad the Sentinel


Filed under Bali Balinese Kecak dance theatre theater people social life long read long reads

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I gave back to my community :)

My first impression of the Islamic class was that they were very young; ages between 3-14. As a person in Theatre Arts its always a joy to work with older kids who would understand concepts a lot better. However, I am always shocked when I work with younger kids. Their ability to grasp concepts always astound me. I was not seeking much, because my only purpose was to give back to the community and help inspire these kids with their upcoming performance.

What amazed me the most, was their ability to learn the spaces of the stage so quickly. I only had to show them a few of the spots and they all figured out the rest on their own. Children really do pick up a lot more than you would expect. If its one thing that I learnt today is to never underestimate the power of a child’s mind. I would openly admit though that most of them were very shy, and they all need to be brought out of their shells. Hopefully with my planned exercises they would be able to blossom :)

The thing is though, I probably only have less than 2 hours to work with them before they take to the stage in mid July. So my plan is to simplify, but yet still make it as effective as possible. They have about two songs and three skits to do. The skits more than likely would be narrated as the kids take on the actions. I honestly would have liked to push that boundary a little further, however with such limited time, I think its the best plan of action. 

Working with kids can be so difficult at times. Its always hard to gain their attention. They are easily drawn away from what you are trying to teach them. During their break, they were like little ants running around with not a care in the world. Oh how I envy them! Today also made me realize how old I am getting and how time quickly passes by. I felt as if it was just yesterday I use to attend Islamic classes at the Mosque. I stopped because my life became so much more hectic.

Giving back to your community does wonder to your spirits. Makes you feel that you are actually doing something that is worth your time and energy. Inspiring these kids to help them with their confidence on stage is more satisfying than anything that I have done in a long while. Even though I have a very short time to work with them. Whatever we come up with to perform for the congregation, I am very sure all of them would make me proud.

Always looking at life,

Shahad the Sentinel

Filed under volunteerng community community life theatre theatre arts theater theater arts life life lessons long read long reads

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Humanities vs Science and Agriculture

Being apart of two very different faculties one can be qualified to make certain inferences about the two. It has been a constant battle between students of different faculties to determine which one requires more work. Well I am about to step in and put those rumours to rest. I must stress however that I making these inferences on the basis of two degree programmes. Theatre Arts and Environmental Natural  Resources Management. One must take note however, that there may be much more demanding degrees under both faculties that I have not experienced. 

Its is an academic fact, that any degree under Humanities and Education require less work hours than any degree in Science and Agriculture. All Humanities students are restricted to doing is15 credits, mostly comprising of courses that are worth 3 credits. Science and Agriculture students are required to stay above 15 without exceeding a maximum of 21. Their courses are mostly comprised of 4 credit courses.  For those of you who unfamiliar with the term ‘credits’ it is simply a term to tally at the end of your degree programme. For example Science and Agriculture students must attain a total of 101 credits, in order to graduate. One must wonder why on earth is a Humanities student restricted to doing so little, as compared to so much for the Sci and Agri?

I know a lot of Theatre Arts students may be quick to complain that they have rehearsals.  However, to be completely fair, students of my degree program also have rehearsals as well. 5 hours standing up in a laboratory is just as tiring as any rehearsal. If by chance you want to compare the rehearsals, there is no doubt that Science and Agriculture takes the cake. You have 5 hours to conduct an experiment and produce your academic paper in a structured format at the end of the class. Most students of the Science and Agriculture faculty live in the labs, with up to 10-15 hours per week. Most students of this faculty go to school 5 days a week, while many humanities students boast that they structured their time table so that they have a day off! There is no possible way that a student of Science and Agriculture can orchestrate this. 

Let’s talk a bit about grade weighting. There is a absolutely no course in Science and Agriculture that I ever came across that offers 100% in course assessment. The majority of courses are always 40% in class and 60% final exam. This speaks volumes because the majority of University students do not test well and prefer in course examinations. In the humanities faculty if a course is not 100%  in class assessment, it is usually 50/50 or 60% in course and 40% exam.  Students of the Humanities faculty are ritualistically accustom to getting A’s, this is not so for the majority of students in Science and Agriculture. 

Let’s speak about a real life incident. When I told my lectures of the Humanities faculty that I have to read through 9 slides and over 12 chapters to sit and in-course exam for 2%, they were flabbergasted. I explained to them that our lecturer designs the course like this in order for us to keep up to date on our readings. At the end of my final exams I manage to suffice a pass in English, an A in Climate Change, an A in Production 2, and a D+ in Tropical Forest Ecology. The very same course I was telling my lectures about. There is absolutely no doubt that the faculty makes you work extremely hard for your grade, ever though I prepared for that course with equal vigour as the rest. 

One of my friends told me that many of her colleagues make it seem that Theatre Arts is a drive by. In my honest opinion, In Trinidad and Tobago, Theatre Arts as a primary career path is very shaky ground. If you do not have the resources or the talent to make it big in Theatre Arts, it is pointless to pursue it. I never saw Theatre Arts as a full time practice for myself. I know that I do not have the talent or resources to further it as a career. If on the other hand you are convinced that you have everything you need, there is nothing in the world that can stop you, to actually have a chance of succeeding in the field. Do not get me wrong I love theatre arts. I really do, but IT CANNOT BE MY BREAD AND BUTTER. There is many things that I want in this life, and due to the competitiveness of the field, I would not be able to get it sooner that I would like, even if I decided to put in my all. 

I have worked side by side with both students from each degree. I do not have to state which has the most discipline. Lets take a real life example again. As you all may know, for those who keep up to date with my blog, I recently came out of a production entitled Nation Dance: The Pilgrimage. I attended 2-4 rehearsals per week between January and March. with each rehearsal lasting 3-4 hours. This would tally to around 72 hours for the minimum and 192 hours for the maximum. (See Theatre Arts does have its fair share of work too :p). Would you believe that it was only until the production was over in April, did one of my fellow students recognized I had a blackberry. Lets throw down the converstation

Student: OMG You have a blackberry? Since wen?

Me: Since ever

Student: So how come you doh be on yuh fone like d rest of dem in class?

Me: Since the beginning of rehearsals sir said phones are off set. I don’t use it in class

Student: Ohhhhhh

SIMPLE DISCIPLINE!!!! I lost count of the amount of times that I saw students acting and bbming at the same time. Clearly they have skills that I do not have to make it big in the industry. Apart from that, I stopped arriving early, cause the majority arrived late. Not 5 mins late. I am talking 1 hour- an hour and a half late. And people expect everyone to respect the arts? I understand why they don’t. Many artistes who claim to be artists, do not respect the very thing that they do. 

Its not because its sciences, people are so respected. Everyone takes what their doing seriously. We are not even allowed to reach 1:05pm for our field trips. WE WOULD BE LEFT BEHIND! Lectures, labs and tutorials happen whether you are there or you are not there. There were many times rehearsals were canceled because of the unavailability of students, and my question is why? There is so much work that you could do with one student in the Arts. 

I could go on and on. People would say I am insulting the arts. But I am not. I am hear to provide a solution. You want respect, there are many things that you can do.

1.)Lobby among students for administration to raise the minimum on your credits per semester so that you can do more, and not have a holiday during the week.

2.)Courses that demand a lot more work, demand more credit. Reach on time to your rehearsals.

3.)Come out if the box. Do a totally student oriented production outside of your degree requirements. Promote your degree everyday.

4.)Perform in the quadrangle on Fridays.

5.)Boast that you are a student of the arts, just like students boast that they are of the scientific field.

6.)Boast that you are a pioneer and an innovator and that you have the gift of craft and entertainment. 

I am always quick to explain something scientific when I get the opportunity to engage my knowledge. I never hear one theatre arts student come to me and apply literary skills to a movie or to a play unless its for credit. “Dah movie/play was rel nice eh… oh gosh ah rel enjoy it” And you doing a degree in Theatre Arts? Oh helllllssss no!

I could go on and on about this topic. I am very sure a lot of people would disagree with me, or even bash me. However I must state that my mind is attached to this opinion, so if you do disagree. For the sake of our communication happiness, let’s agree to disagree :)

Always looking at life,

Shahad the Sentinel 

Filed under Science Humanities Theatre Arts academics university theatre arts theater life lessons life comparisons lonmg read long reads

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Lilliput Theatre :D…… then something happen :p

I had it all planned out. A nice planned picture perfect day coming back from my vacation. I got all my outstanding giemagazine assignments out of the way, since I had to attend Lilliput’s 2012 theatrical production for media coverage. I do not know who fooled me into thinking that I could get from Santa Cruz to St. Ann’s in about an hour. I need to keep reminding myself that I am living in a developing country that is congested by constant traffic, with no prescribed peak hours.

I have another issue. Is there no one living in St Anns? I completely forgot that people would be heading home at this late hour after work, so surely I was expecting rel ketch ass for taxi to get to Queens Hall. To my surprise there was a string of taxi’s  lined up going to St Ann’s on a late Thursday evening. My issue then became getting the taxi to be filled quickly, as oppose to running down taxis to get to Queen’s Hall. In the end I paid for the trip, because when it comes to Theatre Arts, I spare no expense. I reached 5 minutes late, and I nearly died because of it. One must always have respect for the arts, and reaching late is clear example of utter disrespect. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the private media viewing of the performance. Lillliput Theatre is known as the flagship for Children’s Theatre in Trinidad and Tobago, and last night they lived up to that reputation. If you guys would like to see the show. It’s being held at Queens Hall for the next three days.

Friday May 18th, 2012 7:30pm

Saturday May 19th, 2012 5:30pm

Sunday May 20th, 2012 5:30pm

Children $85.00 Adults $95.00

The show is entitled “anansi and the world wide web” and features social and political commentary through the voice and stories of Anansi the spider. Make sure to look out for the young thespians Christopher, Kenya, Shermake and Asia who I had the pleasure of interviewing for giemagazine. I would post the story on tumblr once its published. These kids were inspiring :D

After the show one of my friends called me to go out. Frankly I was very excited because I have been dying just to lime with one of meh ‘padnas’. However I must always remind myself, that some people are just born set ups! What amazed me though is that I was ready to put everything out just to have a good time last night with anyone! My finances went straight down to plan Z, and everything else that I had to do, just got pushed aside, all just to lime and hang out with a friend who I look up too so much.

I realized that sometimes I have to pull myself back and take a look at the situation and appreciate what you have. Last night I got a private viewing of a leading theatrical company in Trinidad and Tobago. Hello Shahad… in case you did not realize you have a life! It is with this life you should make the best of it! I eventually came home and sent out emails till 2 am in the morning. Since I got up I wrote up the article and continued sending out emails for our eco carnival pre band launch, which is really beginning to take shape. Even though I take d lil set up in good stride, I rel doh like it. I fed up get brace by people when I was younger, I could do without that feeling of worthlessness these days, since so many things seem to be going my way.

I love all my friends deeply, and I understand that inconveniences can occur from time to time.  But jed less talk and more action. That’s d game I play!

Always looking at life,

Shahad the Sentinel

Filed under friends drama theatre life life lessons long read long reads theater stage production children trinidad trinidad and tobago arts

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Nation Dance: The Pilgrimage

One of the major reasons that I have not been blogging as much is because I have been involved in a national theatrical production called Nation Dance: The Pilgrimage. It is being done by the Department of Creative and Festival Arts at the University of the West Indies. I am involved in the production because currently doing a course that makes up my minor in Theatre Arts, and as such I am required to be apart of it. 

Nation Dance: The Pilgrimage focuses on one primary objective, that is to discover what it means to be Trinbagonian. It also incorporates a literal and figurative journey to discover a sense of nationhood and nation building. The production also takes a very close look at our social and political context of yesterday, today and the future. 

Like the title says, we are on a pilgrimage and thus the show has been traveling to many places across Trinidad and Tobago. For each show we visit a different community that would share with us the values that they brought to this land. Each community has taken up the responsibility of dramatically representing their history and traditions that melds with the 1 hour production that we have created. 

In this production there are four individuals that go by the name of pyong. Each one of them represent an ill of the society that is “Mauvais Langue”. After being accused and sent a way to discover their mother, who they say is the roots of the land, they set out on a journey to different communities in search of their mother. At each community they are set with real life challenges, that the pyongs have no idea what they would be. At our recent show in Waterloo, “Shooter Pyong” had to eat a red hot pepper with roti, in order to cleanse his body of beef, pork and other impurities to be accepted by the community that runs the Temple by the Sea.  He of course, was sweating beads after he consumed it. These traditions presented by the communities show different values of Trinidad and Tobago, and in this quest to find what i really means, we would present them on our final shows at the Department of Creative and Festival Arts at the University of the West Indies.

PLEASE SAVE THE REMAINING DATES…. 8 shows… and 2 have already gone!


March 16 - Naparima Hill, San Fernando - 7 pm

March 18 - Temple in the Sea Grounds, Waterloo - 5 pm

March 23 - Desperadoes Steel Orchestra, Laventille - 7 pm

March 24 - Golden Lane, Tobago - 7 pm

March 25 - Pembroke Heritage Park, Tobago - 5 pm

March 30 - Calvary Hill, Arima - 7 pm

March 31 - DCFA, UWI - 7 pm 

April 1 - DCFA, UWI - 5 pm

NO COST for performances March 16 - March 30.

The DCFA venue admission is Adults $50, UWI students/ NDATT MEMBERS $30, children $20

The role that I have in this production is the character Mamaguy. Mamaguy is considered the Big Fish of Mauvais Langue. He is without a doubt well aware of the happenings on all levels of the country. He is a thief, channeling money from the treasury through very close friends in the royal court. His hands are clean but is very well connected. Oddly enough Mamaguy enjoys dressing up as a woman. He prides himself because he looks sexy and enjoys the comfort that no one can tell him anything about it. He is the primary reason as to why Mauvais Langue is in a serious sense of despair. 

Here are a few shots of the production at Naparima Hill where we visited the Warao  community.

Filed under Shahad Ali Shahad the Sentinel Production theatre trinidad trinidad and tobago nation dance nation dance the pilgrimage drama theater stage commentary carpark Department of Creative and Festival Arts University of the West Indies uwi

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The thing about a production……

"Break a leg" is what they all say. I could have broken mine today. I have two productions coming up. One of which I am guaranteed to perform and the other I am still unsure of my role. The demands of theatrical work requires one’s will to execute full cardio work outs.  I started training with one of my friends who is practically a shorter version of the blue beast from X-Men when it comes to exercising. 

Today I busted my ass because of my utter blindness. There I was jogging around the field to the beats of Kes pulsating through my ears from my headphones. This was me:

"Baby wine up nah…..*pant pant pant*…. flex with precision…..*pant pant pant*"

Despite seeing the IRON small goal post that was pracitcally 2 and a half feet tall. I completely forgot that the damn thing was there after my first lap. I saw “the beast” came up next to me, not knowing that he was edging me to jump over the post while jogging. I was so occupied with kes at the moment, and before I knew it I toppled over and almost tangled myself like a contortionist between the small metal bars. 

I did not get cut or anything, thank god, but I got a lash that I obviously would not forget. I am now nursing a blue and black mark along my shin bone. I have a towel wrapped around my leg, with a plastic bag of ice packaged in between. I am praying that I am not limping tomorrow, because limping is forbidden. I want to perform at my best in any of the theatrical roles given to me. Whether it be offstage or onstage. 

I complained about this… so I guess the beast is gonna call me a pussy…. but say wah….. I complain about everything…. but then again say wah……is tumblr…..

Always looking at life,

Shahad the Sentinel

Filed under production theatre theater drama stage exercise cardio workout long read long reads

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I have a fear of Theatre History

Theatre History scares the hell out of me. Apart from the reason that I tend to do terrible in midterms and final exams, the philosophical theories tend to get overly exaggerated at times. 

My last midterm was in Western Theatre History that covered such a wider range of philosophical topics that ultimately made me fail the midterm, but thankfully I was able to cram really hard and pass the final examination. I was able to suffice a C+ and to be completely honest…. I was extremely proud. :D

This semester I have undertaken the grueling task of doing Modern Theatre History. I like a challenge, a challenge that I can overcome. However my midterm is on Thursday and in essence ”my ass rel dark”. Not that I am completely unaware of what has happened in class, its just that their are finer details that can potentially tie me up.

We mostly focused on Realism and Naturalism and the dates span between 1850-1950. I’m honestly giving up on remembering too many dates. My dyslexic self would more than likely mix them up. I would however admit that we have looked at some extremely interesting authors, such as Anton Chekov, Henrik Isben and August Strienberg. All of them are brilliant writers in their own sense and I would admit I have varying levels of appreciation for each of them. What I can’t handle is the theorists.

Adolphe Appia and Gordon Craig essentially started experimenting with symbols and light, however they themselves have their own wide range of opinions. Looking at Eugene Scribe and the construct of a well made play with careful exposition seriously causes personal hibernation while revising their archaic time period.

I am about to attempt the impossible right now. I am going to try and recall Stanislavski’s 10 principles in the construct of his plays. Let’s go:

1.) Relationships

2.) Objectives

3.) Obstacles




7.)Interior Monologue

8.) Tactics

9.) Beats

10.) Steuppppssss u does never remember d last one… let me check my book…ohhh Evaluations……

Now seriously do not ask me to define and explain in full length what each of these means. This is the University of the West Indies…. We are like birds that feed their young…. we regurgitate information to get marks…. We are at a lost when it comes to application, Ask me to put on a play using this system, and I have no idea where to start. Its the horrible but honest truth. 

I hope to God I can suffice a passing grade. I honestly need an A for this course.

Always looking at life,

Shahad the Sentinel

Filed under theater theatre UWI University of the West Indies Humanities midterm exams A+ Shahad Ali

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I lived life today.

Tis’was the definition of how my life should be. I was so ecstatic that all my tasks were centered around creative and artistic learning. I was happy. No labs, no numbers, just pure expressions. It was wonderful, and I wish I could relive today all over again. 

Today I had a meeting with a volunteer group that I chose not to attend. Apart from the reasons of academic commitments, their monthly agenda has become generic and repetitive. Why must I subject myself to such monotony? Why must I put myself in a place where people do not want to progress, or for that matter have the discipline to progress. Attending that meeting would have disrupted all the happiness and glory that is filled within me now :)

I started my external Direction for one of my courses. I am directing scenes from Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie”. It is a very difficult play to direct, needless to say I am a bit worried, since it is my first try at any form of directing. It is also my first try at anything outside of environmental theatre, and as such I am intimidated quite a bit. 

I must thank Stacy and Alexander who attached themselves quickly to the script, and they both seem rather comfortable with their roles. Before today I was in need of another actress, and that problem was resolved. Things flowed well at the first table read, and I couldn’t ask for anything more. 

After rehearsals, I set my sights on my home, my sense of place… the place that made me realize that I could grace a stage if I wanted to…. Trinidad Theatre Workshop. My lecturer for Modern Theatre, Miss Belinda Barnes was acting as Nat in a Rabbit Hole. A play written by David Lindsay-Abarie. 

It was such a moving play, that simply made my eyes wet. To see the pain that this family was going through, and the plethora of issues they had deal with. My heart when out deeply to Becca who had to deal with the lost of her 4 year old son, Danny. Her son was killed by a 17 year old boy by the name of Jason. You could imagine how laboured my breathing became, when I saw Jason and Becca coming face to face. It was touching, yet heart-wrenching to see the individual problems they both had to deal with, while still trying their best to maintain a very calm and collective social situation. 

I ended the night with one drink of scotch, and I am now back home with numbers and scientific calculations related to toxicology. I know that I am suppose to be balanced, trying to become this Sciatarian (Scientist and Humanitarian)…… but I could not help but feel that this is where my heart and passion lies……. I really did live it today…….. and it was wonderful

Always looking at life,

Shahad the Sentinel

Filed under rabbit hole life play theatre environment Trinidad Theatre Workshop Belinda Barnes The Glass Menagerie long read long reads theater

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How to run a Production…..

Vibrations…. Rhythms…. Sound and Movement, started off my Production 2 class this afternoon. There was no denying the energy that was filled within the small Dance Studio at the Department for the Creative and Festival Arts. This was just the start of a year long production that us, the students are planning to work very meticulously on.

The amazing thing about a production, is the amount of thought and analysis that goes into production that eventually produces a spectacular product. A product that can be heavily marketed for an audience to enjoy and discuss. Primarily it is a process, and like our lecturer said… “Trust the Process”

Today we were dancing, moving around, taking turns to share a vibe with each other. All of my classmates were sweating beads as we shake, rolled and jumped to the energetic rhythms of the drums. I was not about to pretend to be shy, I love music that moves the soul. I danced and kicked up my legs in full festivity and I was loving every minute of it. Soon enough we were chanting and testing our vocal skills. Vocal unison eventually happened, which was completely fantastic to hear and even more exciting to be apart of. 

After a relaxation period, we were able to get into the crux of our production and deal out the many thought processes. We had our own individual presentations, and we saw from the very creative to the very informative. We were told to trust our artistic side, and relieve ourselves from too much of the academic background. As our lecturer told us, he consider us to be bright :)

The processes that I have learnt at the Department of Creative and Festival Arts is priceless. They teach you how important it is to be apart of a process when planing a production. A process is key to making a good production. If there is no process, then the purpose of the production would be extremely unlclear.

Recently I made a huge decision to relieve myself as Project Coordinator of a concert that I was planning to execute. From what I have learnt at the Centre, everyone must be willing to engage themselves in a process. It must be a collective vision, and a collective drive. It must be well thought out and well planned. A production cannot be rushed and therefore it must be given space to grow. Apart from that, I relieved myself from such duties because unknown to some… I actually have a life. I have other responsibilities and other dedications…..

If you are running a production and you can’t even tell me the days and times that you plan to have your rehearsals…. Do you expect me to plan my other activities around dates that I do not even have. No… It does not work that way. It’s a process. A process that needs to be trusted, and was sadly trusted by no one.

I honestly had to remove myself from the utter embarrassment that was about to befall me. I rather stick with colleagues who actually know what they are doing when it comes to executing a production….. building it from the ground up and getting involved in a process.

Always looking at life,

Shahad the Sentinel

Filed under theatre production UWI University of the West Indies Theater Drama Stage perfromance dance long read long reads

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Future EMA Youth Ambassadors are in the making. I am extremely happy to be a part of this process, to see young aspiring individuals develop an appreciation for the environment. Today they would be rehearsing their dramatic and artistic pieces. We would also be visiting the Oilbird Cave at Asa Wright Nature Centre later this afternoon :)

Always looking at life,

Shahad the Sentinel

Future EMA Youth Ambassadors are in the making. I am extremely happy to be a part of this process, to see young aspiring individuals develop an appreciation for the environment. Today they would be rehearsing their dramatic and artistic pieces. We would also be visiting the Oilbird Cave at Asa Wright Nature Centre later this afternoon :)

Always looking at life,

Shahad the Sentinel

Filed under Environment drama trinidad trinidad and tobago theatre theater EMA Youth Ambassadors

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Exceptional Theatre

Visiting Trinidad Theatre Workshop always brings back the memories of dramatic training and the lifelong bonds I made with so many youths that have the same passion and drive for the arts. There are many programmes at the theatre, one of which includes Teen Theatre Studio, of which I am a graduate of. I just came back from reviewing their show and I must admit that it was quite an exceptional performance. 

Everyone goes crazy over conventional theatre, wanting to get a quick laugh out of the likes of Raymond Choo Kong and others, however I wonder if there would ever be an appreciation for plays with intuitive plots and well developed characterization. These teens have shown a profound interest in Caribbean literature. The cast of the Teen Theatre Studio performed “The Ritual” written by Zeno Obi Constance, a Trinidadian playwright. The play focuses on a 16 year old child, by the name of Omega. It relates the problems she is faced with, in different social situations of her life.

The play itself presents a bit of comedy, drama and indeed some very intense scenes. Most importantly it presents some real life issues that is still commonly dealt with today. How do teenage mothers handle such a situation? What if you really were in their shoes? Would you be able to handle a baby at age 16? If you would like to know the answer to these questions, “The Ritual” is the kind of play that will help you answer them.

This is what I mean by exceptional theatre. I am tired of the scandals, the lies, the sex and the adultery. Its all repetive on the biggest theatrical stages across the country. You want something of depth? Something that really reflects our literary standards on a performing stage; you should make sure to check out, not only Trinidad Theatre Workshop, but also places like the Department of Creative and Festival Arts at UWI, or even the University of Trinidad and Tobago, that commonly host theatrical shows all year around. These shows have depth, insight and meaning into our Caribbean identity and literary styles. One cannot find that on the big stages.

Our eyes seriously need to be opened up. The works of Derek Walcott has somewhat been forgotten. Doesn’t anyone remember the production Steel in 2005 at Queens Hall, with the famous Albert Laveau and Humanitarian Corrine Grey. Two individuals that I look up at so greatly at today. These are the kinds or role models I wish the youth of Trinidad and Toabgo had, Not Hannah Montana and Justin Beiber. 

There is good theatre out there. It may be hard to find, but you just have to look…..

Always looking at life,

Shahad the Sentinel

Filed under Albert Laveau Corinne Grey drama long read long reads theater theatre trinidad trinidad and tobgo trinidad theatre workshop ttw trinidad and tobago caribbean