“‘Be honest, be bored, be angry, and be sad…’ This is what I coach teachers to do in their classrooms,” states former KIS IB HL English teacher, and Theatrical Director Bob Granner.
Mr Granner was part of the age-old tradition at KIS of staging theatrical performances. Almost every year, without fail, Kodaikanal International School has opened its doors to the community, and staged a performance or more. Bob has staged plays like ‘the King and I’, ‘Sound of Music’ in the 70s, and ‘The Christmas Carol’ in the 90s. This year, Bob has come on a vacation to Kodai to assist Director Robert Wood in his production ‘Shrek the Musical’ that was staged on November 2 to 4, 2018.
“Students and teachers alike are always under pressure to perform ‘well’ in their classrooms. On stage, they can expose themselves to different roles and situations, and exercise their emotional vulnerability. Drama magically brings out that honesty,” Bob describes. Mr Granner goes on to say that from his experiences with Theatre, it is a great way of establishing deep connections with the students that you cannot do behind a desk or in a classroom. In Theatre, students take risks and gain confidence in their ideas and abilities, making them more than what they believed they could be.
Previously, Drama used to take the sidelines of a curriculum and today, globally, Drama is being recognized and the ‘heart and soul’ of education. Across the globe, classrooms adopt theatrical methodology into their teaching skills, from elementary, all the way up to high school. Theatre classes provide and outlet for students to make creative choices, interpret material and messages, and think new ways of expression.
Through theatrical performances, students learn to work collaboratively as a team, develop a sustained focus of their mind, body, voice. They learn to trust through social interaction with others, trust in themselves, others and in the process and journey of the production.
Bob Granner describes the opportunity for students to perform, that which is unique to their entire emotional development. “Being on stage is more a revelation of who the person is, and yet they are pretending too. On stage, you can laugh, scream, cry and allow your deeper person to come out. This allows us, the staff member, to connect with that individual”.
Earlier this month, KIS Students continued the tradition of Theatrical Performances at KIS. It was three days of outstanding, high quality performances of ‘Shrek the Musical’. Students of all ages learnt to work collaboratively, and cooperatively. They learnt to focus on timings, body language and presence on stage. Some of the main characters were exposed for the first time to performing, and worked hard to improve their presence on stage.
The choreography, stage and costumes amazed its viewers, bringing to life the 2001 DreamWorks animation. They took their audience through a journey of laughter, excitement and awe. The performance was open to larger Kodai community to watch, giving students from all over Kodai and social backgrounds the opportunity to enhance their imagination and create an appreciation for the arts and live performances.
The team of students in ‘Shrek the Musical’ just like many others performers before them, have created memories for themselves and for others that will last a lifetime!