By Shea Karssing
The life of a first-year Rhodes University Drama student could be described as arduous, if not simply excruciating. With the cumbersome task of having to balance the work load of four (sometimes five) courses and one’s social life, life becomes a pear-shaped experience. It is terribly difficult to mix an awesome life, packed with all sorts of exciting adventures, with taking a first year drama course (and still attempt to come out with your sanity intact). This, however, is not a diatribe of the Drama department but merely an account of the ever-joyous experience that is being a first year drama student.
It is only a week away from our theatre-making performance and we have to change our entire piece…again. After being told what did not work in “40 different ways in accordance with the adopted style of drama criticism”, we understood the gist of the lecture. Basically, our piece was bad, and the punishment: a rehearsal schedule that is grueling enough to make Chuck “the man” Norris cry. And that was just theatre-making, never mind the movement and voice exams.
It is another Friday and I am watching my friends get sloshed. Please note: key word = watching. Here I am playing drinking games with my mug of caffeine and glucose. I am anxiously hoping that it will keep me awake for the next two hours of “crafting”, as they like to call the harrowing process of trying to suck something out your thumb, or other bodily orifices, “theatre”.
Note to self – Friar’s is not a pleasant place when sober! After being relentlessly pushed around midway through “Nelly the Elephant”, I decided to go home so that I could get up for my movement dawnie in (surprise, surprise) the drama department. Luckily a member from my theatre making group is away for the weekend so at least we can postpone the “this doesn’t work, scrap it all” problem to next week.
Group work is a hack at the best of times. But this really is carrot-grinding stuff. A certain member (let’s call them Nob Roll, for argument’s sake) has neglected to attend practice again. We had the glorious honour of being kicked out of our preciously-booked practice venue by third year students today, isn’t that just lovely? Thus, we had to move outside and I subjected my new white shorts to the wrath of the grass-stains.
I have a movement exam later today! Due to “unforeseen” circumstances, our ever-reliable friend Nob Roll did not pitch for practice. So with minimal rehearsal, my group officially asserted themselves as the writhing, messy mass of flesh on stage associated with those who have no clue about what they are doing. Fortunately, the theatre was packed with older drama students who come specifically to mock our efforts to make us feel even more content with our performance. High fives all round and let’s get drunk!
I woke up this morning with not only a headache from hell, but a severely diminished voice. Not exactly an item off the drama genie’s wish list as the voice exam tomorrow is examined on…well, I’m sure it’s pretty self-explanatory. I did not enter my place of residence from the hours of 8:40 to 5:30. Lectures had to be forsaken (pity) and I bettered my plagiarism time record for my English essay (yes, other subjects DO exist!). By this time I have established a blossoming relationship with not only the theatre cleaning staff, but even the spiders, with their almost non-existent memory span, recognise me.
The voice exam went well considering my croak and that I had only finished memorizing my poem during the warm up (blame the schedule!). Had to do an impromptu speech and I was quite pleased with my little number entitled “Bitching about drama exams”. It was quite a well-researched and sincere delivery. Tomorrow evening at 8:30pm is highly anticipated- the end is nigh! Freedom (translation – inebriation) beckons me like that creepy Uncle Sam guy in the war propaganda posters. Well it will have to wait. The imminent end will come to fruition just as soon as I’ve finished my two essays for Friday.