Dianné Yang is from Auckland and is 24 years old. She is a first year student studying a Drama Major and a Dance Minor.
MONDAY 2nd June
The first two days of the week are always full-on and intense for drama majors. I know! What a way to start a week, huh?! However it is the most rewarding two days. There is so much I learn and experience in class to be a professional actor, and I’m sure there’s so much more to learn!
As Mondays and Tuesdays are so fast-paced and high energy, once I lose focus in class, it requires me to have extra attention and double determination to pick it up again. That’s why I always fill myself up with big breakfast and coffee with double shots in the morning. As it’s Queen’s birthday today, I didn’t need any of them though. I had a nice sleep-in but I had to keep myself focused for class tomorrow by rehearsing my scripts again and reminding myself of where I’m at in terms of my school work! The closer the exams get, the more lines and scripts I am given! The weekend was perfect for me to be refreshed and recharged but I know it’s time to go back to my acting now!
TUESDAY 3rd June
After the long Queen’s birthday weekend, it was so hard to convince myself not to hit another snooze WAY after my usual wake-up time. With the help of cold water on my face, I dragged myself to get ready for the day. By the time I have breakfast and a strong black coffee, I usually become slightly aware of the time and the reality but today was a bit of an exception. I guess the extended weekend loosened me up just a bit too much.
My little morning nap on the way to school was very useful to start my school week with a clear mind! Especially at this time of the year, fully wide awake conscience is the first thing needed in class as the exams are coming up soon. The class commenced a wee bit earlier today for that too. We’ve been putting extra effort and time in class to prepare for the exams. Things are speeding up and the workload is stacking up and time’s running out!! I could get pretty stressed about now, but actually I’m having the best time! All the teaching and training we have been absorbing and all our hard work to meet the tutor’s requirements are finally coming out brilliantly as results. This is just unbelievably exciting!
Today we discussed and experimented on a lot of things for the plays we are going to be performing as our exams in two weeks. I think the best thing about doing drama is that whatever you do, you can’t avoid being physically active in class which always helps you stay awake even on the very first day of the week. Nothing can be boring really!
Walking out of the drama room after a loooong day, all I could think of was food and bed! I went through my lines once again as I was driving back home. On the way home I thought to myself that despite the physical tiredness, I’m feeling so good! Acting has always been my secret passion and I’m doing it here at EXCEL, seeing my dream growing as a real thing right in front of my face!
WEDNESDAY 4th June
I had Laura (an EXCEL vocal major) over last night. With Laura’s company this morning, having to contend with the traffic wasn’t that big a pain. I think it is really awesome to get to know so many people from different places with different interests. Heaps of diversities here but we all connect easily with the same passions and creative minds and expressions. It just makes us want to know more of each other! EXCEL is an awesome place to get to know all sorts of people who ‘EXCEL’ at creative performing arts.
Wednesday drama is always cool. Theatre sports and lots of physical activities are a big part of the Wednesday class. We spend the first half an hour playing warming-up games. What I love about doing drama at EXCEL is that all barriers you have from people are dropped. We spend so many hours together doing physical activities, the bond between us has become so strong. The friendship we are getting here is such a bonus and is so valuable! This keeps us all wanting to come back to school, no matter how tired we feel that morning.
The focus of the Wednesday class is usually contemporary plays and acting. This involves a lot of body and facial expressions. We do a lot of improvisation as well which requires so much creativity. Seeing different ideas coming out of each other helps us create and come up with more of our own new ideas. This was one of the big challenges for me at the beginning of the year. Creativity is not a thing written in a book. It takes time and a lot of ‘mind working’. This class has expanded my creativity and freed my mind a lot.
I went to the auditorium after my last class today. There were a few singers practicing their singing performances on the stage. Enjoying their amazing voices from my seat, I imagined myself up there on the spotlight acting my roll. Then I reminded myself again to learn my lines perfectly from the very first to the last line.
THURSDAY 5th June
Thursday’s our only day-off during the week from drama, but it was a catch-up day for the Monday’s class we missed. We spent most of the day rehearsing. As time goes by, all of our acting is becoming more and more powerful. Learning to distinguish clearly between sounding-like ‘pretending’ acting to real ‘being’ acting brought us into the stage where we can realize how to be fully present on stage even with a possible stage fright. We don’t need as much warming up as we did before. The time we spend to focus on acting is now a lot shorter.
I have to wear something that’s extra loose and comfortable on Wednesdays and Thursdays because I got my dance minor classes at the end of the day. I’m not a great dancer but Hip Hop turned out to be an awesome help for my acting! After all the powerful and extensive moves I dance in fast tempo music, I become so alive and awake with so much energy pumped up in me.
I felt even more energetic than usual after dance today. When I came back to drama after that, I realized my words were so much clearer and I felt my body totally freed up. I had a total break through in my acting and my every single line was delivered so clearly and powerfully. I was able to grab everyone’s attention right away until the very last moment of my performance. It was so exciting! I have two goals in mind until the exams: remember to use all my body when acting, and practice to deliver my words more clearly. Practice! Practice! Practice!
FRIDAY 6th June
It seemed too quick to have the last day of the week already. Continuing from Wednesday’s class, we came back to our contemporary play. It’s so important to make the right body and facial expressions. And they have to be done in an obvious and definite way. We did a lot of rehearsing today. We got divided into two groups, one with the script and the other improvising. We will be delivering the same play in two different ways. I’ve been chosen to be in the script group. Even though I wouldn’t have to improvise any lines, my body expression has to be real in each moment. Because it’s pretty much preplanned and written already we didn’t really have to spend much time directing everything. Whereas, the other group had to go through so much directing and planning that it gave me some break today from working so hard. Watching others with their work is also an important part of the class. Seeing the bigger picture from outside as a third person gives you more ideas of how to make things more effective. It’s also a great opportunity to learn from their mistakes and reflect on my own ones.
I went back to my diary to see what I have to have done by the end of the weekend on my way back home. A couple of assignments, a few scripts to go through and my dance moves I have to learn… I think it will be a practice weekend for me.
It’s so unbelievable that I’m in a place where I’m doing what I love all the time! Even the thought that I will be spending the weekend practicing what I’m passionate about makes me want to hum and skip already! Lalalalalala! I’m so looking forward to seeing what next week of school holds for me!