Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Streetcar Named Desire

The title of this play is very interesting. During my first reading, I was confused what a streetcar is actually. I thought it was the name of the street where the scene takes place, only later when I watched the movie then I realised that it is actually a means of transportation, which looked like to me a bus. Even though I expected the storyline to be captivating, I found out my expectation was not correct. This is due to some difficulty to understand the character trait of the main characters. I could not differentiate who are the protagonist(s) and antagonist(s), who should be blamed, who tells the truth and who tells the lies and things like that.
Fortunately, I had a chance to clarify my misunderstanding as I attended Sir Edwin’s lecture. As usual, he highlighted the important points for us to consider. Actually, after I learnt it more deeply with Sir Edwin, I tended to change my initial perception that this play is not interesting. It is indeed a very meaningful play.

3o Days in September

This is the last play that we have to learn. Uniquely, this story is from Indian society while the previous plays are from West. From the title, I predicted that the time span is within the 30 days in September. However, it is wrong. Compared to other plays, I managed to complete the whole acts at the first reading. How amazing! It implies that the language and the storyline are fascinating enough for a lazy bun like me. Besides, this play deals an issue that is easy to understand and rampantly occurs in our surrounding-sexual abuse on child.
As Sir Edwin discussed the play with the whole class, I gained confident as most of my understanding of the play was right. There is not much clashes between Sir Edwin’s explanation and my prior understanding. After all, the play is easy as Sir Edwin himself has stated. I am glad that we learn this play. There are certain new techniques in staging a play such as two acting stages are simultaneously staged side by side. The actors and actresses take their turns in speaking their lines.
I rate four stars for this play.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Evaluation by others

On last Friday on March 29th , it was my turn to present simulated teaching. I was doing it with a partner, Nor Izyan Ahmad. The literary element that we have chosen was Cleopatra's character trait in Antony and Cleopatra. As usual, I was quite nervous and fearful that I may get negative feedback from my peers.
As I started the set induction which was only using pictures in Power Point slide show, I was glad that some of my peers gave response and feedback to my questions. They expressed their agreement when I asked for that towards one statement. They also raised their hands and actively voiced their opinion as I went along with my Power Point presentation. When I resumed my task which was on last questions in while reading stage, they still gave cooperation.
From the evaluation forms that they have returned to me, I did not find any negative comments or errors in my activities. Overall, it was a positive support from my peers. Miss Baiti did not give any comments and she went on with next presenters. Hopeful I have done the right thing and did not miss any important points to consider in simulated teaching.

evaluating peers

For the second simulated teaching, we are required to evaluate our peers who are presenting their teaching. There are several aspects that we need to give attention. Their preparation, teaching aids, language, flow of activities and other things. This task has some benefits that it gives us a chance to monitor others and to revise our preparation of presentation.
In my opinion, my peers were doing just fine and very well prepared. They moved on from one stage to another with a smooth flow. Besides that, the use of teaching aids in set induction were all interesting. They knew how to grab students' attention by selecting appropriate and enjoyable video clips or other aids, but many of us used video clips. Communication skills between teacher and students was one aspect that I looked upon during their presentation. Many of them were able to interact with the students by asking for feedback and responses. 'Students' enjoyed themselves by participating in this teaching activity and gave cooperation or support for each others.
Even though there were some mistakes but it is common since we were still in our learning process and could not be perfect. Miss Baiti gave some comments and made some correction. Indirectly, we could learn and know what did she expect from us. Overall, it was a great effort by they all. I hoped after I have observed their teaching activities, I would be able to learn something to enhance my presentation later. I realise that interaction is one important skill in teaching and I need to put in some effort to enhance my skills.

Monday, March 31, 2008

watching theatre

On last 22nd March, I went for a theater at KLPAC at Sentul. This is a requirement of this course, otherwise we will be penalized. By 2pm, we were already there to watch a theater entitled ‘Uncut, Untitled, Paper House’. This is a compilation of the three plays. According to the synopsis that we read beforehand, Uncut covers the theme of censorship in Malaysia, while Uncut is about chasing one’s dreams as an artist. Paper House, the last play, discusses Chinese culture. The first surprise I received is that the audience space is actually small. All this while I thought it would be large and grand, the staffs would be wearing formal attire and there are protocols to follow. Maybe at other places than KLPAC my expectations would be true
Another new discovery is the props used were only boxes arranged on the floor. The actors themselves will arrange according to their position. At one time, the boxes functioned as props for example the stove, at other time they were put up as another props such as bench or bed. The real items were also not required, the actors would just imitate that they were holding or using the items. I was quite amazed with the techniques and realized that there are actually many interesting ways to bring a play to stage. When the light was totally off to initiate the play, I became nervous and could not wait to watch it. The actors were really close in front of our eyes; we were just able to monitor their facial expression. As time went by, I was really indulged in it and did not realize how time flew fast. For me, watching that theatre was worth my time and money. I really hope I could go for another theatre next time.

Friday, March 14, 2008

discussion on Antony and cleopatra

We continued discussing this text. Just like the first part of this text,
I was still not familiar with the language. Many of the words were challenging for my
understanding and it disrupted my flow of reading. This is the biggest challenge I ever had in reading literature text in my course.
To cope with this problem, I jotted down every single explanation from Sir Edwin and I had to stay alert all the time. However, I did not truly comprehend the plot of this text. At times i did not understand why certain event happened and why suddenly another events took place. Quite a few time I asked my friend who sat beside me. I determined to reread this text to deepen my understanding and answer my confusion on the flow of the story.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Antony appeared, Oedipus vanished

After Oedipus Rex, we moved on to Antony and Cleopatra.  The text is rather challenging, i think.
Sir Edwin has advised us to read the text first before referring to notes or summaries through
internet etc. I tried to follow the advice and I ended up suffering for having no clue about text i was reading.  When the first lesson on Antony and Cleopatra started then only i had a clear view of what is it all about.  This  is the story between two different states with different ideology-Rome and Egypt.  Antony is depicted to be impressed by the pleasure in Egypt compared to 
discipline and war-like in Rome.  I think he has lost the greatness a warrior usually have by
succumbing to Cleopatra and abandoning his hometown's affair.  Quite a disappointment for
a general to behave the way he commits.  This text is complicated in a way that what is written
or spoken is not what is actually meant or intended.  Cleopatra asks Antony to  listen to the news
brought by the messenger while she actually is distorted with the arrival of the messenger and
would prefer Antony to neglect him.  
  Half through the book, Sir Edwin called it a day and we will continue next Wednesday.  How glad
i was for i was not feeling well but i toughen myself to attend this lecture.