Tales from the Field: Heewawais!
- November 15, 2019
- Posted by: Louise Standjofski
- Category: General
I am funny. Well, people say that. I know it, I make myself laugh all the time. But most of all, my students are hilarious.
In Beijing, I had the job of putting on a show with young actors with varying levels of English. Although I was always understood, the students were hesitant to speak at first. Of course, there are students who love the spotlight, who love storytelling and share their energy very well. There others who are shy, typical of any group.
Each individual participated easily, seemed to follow instructions and directions very well, efficiently and with enthusiasm. The language was expressive with enough English or more than enough English to perform in both a series of scenes from my play Aesop’s Foibles in the first location and a Glee Club in the second location.
The first session was Theater for two weeks. The casting was easy. After reading through a number of scenes the students submitted their preferences of scenes and characters. As the idea is to encourage English in conversation, nothing could be better than a simple funny script and drama games to loosen up the tongue; in fact, it is the perfect way to open up a group of new language speakers. Humour is universal and this proved true in Beijing particularly with sight gags and physical comedy. Some students could handle the narration while others needed easy lines to study and memorize.
Performances were bang on and the running gag in our cast was “heewawais”. Otherwise said “hilarious”, a word that the actor playing the boy who called wolf could not repeat on stage. We tried. All the more heewawais for our show.