“Candidate a fisheye lens. As I queasily walked

“Candidate 240099!” announced the lady. I glanced at my receipt, you wouldn’t believe what I saw: 2-4-0-0-9-9. The first question that arose: Why me? Why not candidate 140066? Among the 100 students seated there why was I the first? My feet tingled, and my vision disfigured as if I were looking through a fisheye lens.

As I queasily walked towards the examination room, a trail of uneasy thoughts kept lingering in my mind: Why did I even sign up for the Trinity Drama and Speech exam? I should be sitting in my math class because that’s what I am good at- everything is black or white. However, in drama, there is violet, blue, green, yellow, and red!! How would the audience interpret my body language and facial expression? I wish it was as easy as reading a piece of paper, but no, I had to breathe life into an anecdotal character. I hope they like the character I had chosen -‘The Pig’ by Roald Dahl- as I had sacrificed several lunch breaks to construct character sketches, train in voice modulation and learn the dramatic pauses required.

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The door opened, and I was requested to position myself at the center. As I opened my mouth, no words came out, my cheeks glowed fiercely, and my mouth turned to sandpaper- coarse and dry. I closed my eyes and recalled the number of times I had practiced the piece in front of my parents. I took a deep breath and drank a sip of water to jolt my senses back into action. Words gradually escaped my mouth and with every line, my face returned to normal as I gained confidence. Before I even knew it, I was so deep into the character that I had lost track of my surroundings. When I looked up, I noticed a wide smile spread across the examiner’s face and that’s when I knew my hard work had paid off. It was my first victory in the field of drama, and I couldn’t be happier.

I wasn’t just happy because I got a distinction, but also because I got to learn so much about myself- it’s truly a medium of self-discovery. Playing a different character allowed me to live in someone else’s shoes and understand their perspective better. I learned to become a critical consumer rather than a passive viewer, providing a platform to connect not only with myself but with others. My confidence boosted, and I became a more enthusiastic learner, began to raise my hand in classes as I had finally learned how to question things and express myself. I took part in debates and musicals- wherein with every experience, I learnt a new thing about myself.

I wanted to share my experience and passion for drama with others. Hence, after years of drama training, I decided to teach and prepare underprivileged children for the Drama exam hoping that they too could discover themselves through the same journey. The next ‘candidate 240099’ was in the making!