Ever since I started mentoring elementary and middle school students in school, I wondered what else I could do for my community. As a student who has experienced the biggest change in personality through theatre experience, I have always discussed this thought with a group of my friends from my drama class in school. Since each and every one of us had different reasons behind why we chose to take drama classes and why we are so passionate about theatre, we decided to do something different besides the school productions and clubs. Since middle school and until 10th grade, our school required each individual student to take any Arts class. Students had the option to take visual art, music, or drama. Including myself and the other three friends, we had no doubt taking drama classes at school, unlike some other students.
However, numerous students from our grade had to choose drama because they didn’t want to take other Arts subjects offered at school. Just like how visual art students open showcases or exhibitions every trimester, or how music students have spring and winter concerts, drama students performed and rehearsed numerous plays throughout the years. Within this process, it was clear for me and my three other friends to see that some people did not enjoy this process at all but rather felt that this was meaningless and boring. Although I understood that it could be a boring process for some, I still wanted them to feel enthusiastic at least when we were rehearsing.
|[A logo of Proactive Players. Photo Credit: Ashley Minju Song]|
After these experiences in drama classes throughout middle school and the beginning of high school, I wanted to show and share that drama or theatre isn’t always about reading a script and rehearsing. Soon, I passed down these thoughts to my friends and then discussed what we could do as students to change how people consider theatre. With this thought in mind, one friend from the group mentioned about Theatre of the Oppressed. Briefly, Theatre of the Oppressed is one of the famous theatre-style developed by Augusto Boal in the 1970s. This theatre-style is widely used for social and political activism, government legislation, and community building in modern days. We all agreed upon adapting and modifying this theatre-style in our own way using the environment and circumstance we were in. After that, with a simple thought in mind since 9th grade, I was finally able to do something for the community and had the opportunity to change and understand others’ perspectives as a group. This led us to the beginning of a new world that we all haven’t sought out for in the past with the name “Proactive Players”.
|[Founding Members of Proactive Players (Mark Lee, Esther Lee, Ashley Song, Karis Byun).
Photo Credit: Ashley Minju Song]
Proactive Players is an international theatre troupe comprised of a wide and growing community of independent theatre-makers. This international theatre troupe harness their unique backgrounds, skills, and expertise to tackle and present current and pertinent social issues through performance. After establishing this group as Proactive Players, we sought out relevant issues to us and the community. In the midst of the researching process, we faced the outbreak of COVID-19. At first, the media has focused deeply on the medical society, which led us to think about what issues we can focus on our performance with medical society. With continuous research and discussion, we decided that medical issues are not something that we as high school students can connect intensely into even though it is a highly relevant issue that surrounds us. There, I suggested that education could be a topic that we could focus on and relate to. Through research and interviews with numerous school faculties and students from a wide age range, we thought that it would be interesting to create a production with the topic of COVID-19 and Education. The research process and interview sessions helped all of the founding members to write a script for the founding division production here in South Korea. We have cast actors from schools such as teachers, faculty members, students, and alumni for the production titled “Parallax”.
|[The Official Teaser of Parallax. Photo Credit: Ashley Minju Song]|
The founding division, including our founding members, has finished filming for the production “Parallax” and is under the editing process. Besides the founding members, we have reached out and are collaborating with artists worldwide, such as New Zealand, Scotland, England, the United States of America, Ukraine, South Africa, and more. I feel extremely glad that I was able to create this opportunity with friends from school who had similar interests and thoughts as I did who all sought to create change. I am thankful that I was able to undergo this eye-opening process with people with so many talents and passion who all had the unique voices that they wanted to share with the world.
Ashley Minju Song
Senior (Grade 12)
Ashley Minju Song firstname.lastname@example.org
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