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DAYS

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Tsukie Akizawa Column

Green and Gold

from  Cairns / Australia

Tsukie Akizawa
essayist

I have lived in Australia with my Japanese husband since 2002.

After a half-year homestay experience at a Bed and Breakfast in New South Wales just myself, I joined a winery in Queensland where my husband got a job. After working as a room attendant at the hotel in Cairns, I now help a friend's gift shop.

My hobbies are baking and handicrafts such as crochet and origami. I am also a mother with children in primary school and high school, and is the number one fan of the pictures they draw.

 

4.1.2021

DAYS /  Tsukie Akizawa Column

Green and Gold

High School Drama

Improvisation night

 

Last night, I went to the high school where my son attended.

Australian high schools are basically middle and high school combined.

It is suitable for people aged 11 and 12 to 17 and 18.

My son, born in May, would be a third-year junior high school in Japan this year, but he is first-year high school (year 10) student here.

Japanese school starts in April, whereas Australian school starts at the end of January, meaning people of the same age have a 2 grade difference. I know about it but is still always surprising. When my son entered primary school as a preparatory grade (PREP, we call), he was only four years old.

My son wanted to go to see his friends drama performance.

My 11-year-old daughter also wanted to see, too. So I also joined them.

It was an improvisational play at the high school’s auditorium.

Among the students who are learning drama at school, older children were divided into teams to challenge in a drama game of the theme selected on the spot and compete for points.

The younger students were showing off the original skits they had practiced in advance between the drama games.

 

There were games such as:

-A story with the same content, played in different emotions such as “over joyed", "negatively", and "romantic".

-The number of people who participate in the performance is increased one by one, and when all the members perform, the number is reduced one by one.

-While acting, seeing the supporter's pantomime, inferring keywords and using them in dialogue,

The content was as good as an adult.

 

At primary and junior high schools, I have also participated in plays at school festivals and club activities.

Many people may have participated in plays at Japanese schools, too.

However, for me, who has never learned Drama professionally, I'm just overwhelmed by the students' mastery.

It was such an event last night, but for them it can be said that it is a public lesson with an audience. Because their "production" is the musical that will be held at the city theatre later this year.

When I went to see "Sing in the rain" two years ago, the audience was overwhelmed by the dignified performance. It's a musical, they're good at singing. Even romantic acting.

The performance of the dance team was great, and it actually “Raining” on stage, which was a hot topic in the local newspaper.

Many times I wondered many times that everyone was really  high school students walking around school every afternoon.

I was also amazed at the clarity of their answers when they appeared on a local radio show for publicity.

How reliable they were!

By the way, I remember watching a Disney movie called "High School Musical". In the English-speaking world, high school students who perform well may be common.

 

Programs of Excellence in 2022

My daughter who wanted to watch the drama is currently in the sixth grade of primary school.

She is 11 years old now, born in November, the same as in the 6th grade from April in Japan, too.

Sixth graders are in the middle of the high school exam season right now.

However, you can usually go to a public school in the school catchment area without taking an examination.

Students who want to participate in this drama-like activities at school what we saw last night are required to take an extracurricular activity called the Excellence Program.

This exam is also a common route for those who want to cross-border admission to a school outside the school catchment area. At least in Cairns.

 

High school excellence programs in the school district include STEM (academic), music (chorus / instrument), sports (soccer, hockey, basketball), art, drama, and dance, and more, although there are some differences in subjects depending on the each school. 

You can take as many exams as you like.

My daughter who wanted to watch the drama activity last night, participates in the examination of this drama course.

When I talked about taking the drama exam during the interview with her class teacher, he said, "I can't imagine it because she's quiet in the class," but it seems that the drama played by everyone is less embarrassing than speaking in front of the class by herself.

Listen to it, I remembered how a wonderful professional actor got very nervous once he was asked to comment.

It's nothing more than a parent idiot to line up a daughter who is still in the future and an actor who already has the ability on the same line.

 

"Learn acting"

 

In Japan, you might think of a child actor, but drama is one of Cairns' popular activities.

Is it because self-expression, memory, courage, creativity, application, etc. are trained?

It may be useful no matter what profession you get in the future. I'm sure it is.

When taking the exam for my daughter's drama, the challenge is to memorise and preform a paragraph of text.

I have already given the assignment form to my daughter, so I want her to proceed at her own pace.

Last night’s event, the view was interesting, but the performing wasn't easy. But even after watching the improvisation, my daughter wasn't demotivated to take the exam, so I thought she was strong.

Do not hesitate to contact me to discuss a possible project or learn more about my work.

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