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Stephanie Lee
Professor Cantrell
TPS 1107
09 December 2014
Personal Reflection Essay
When I first signed up for this class, I had no idea what to expect. I have only
seen two other plays in my lifetime. Throughout the first couple weeks of transitioning
into the new semester, I found myself greatly enjoying the course, despite the physically
cold classroom. One concept that grasped my attention from the start is the idea that we
are all actors. We are all constantly acting for one another and continuously putting on
one production after the next. We act differently in: class, work, with friends and family,
and by ourselves. It's amazing how we never realize that we constantly evolve into these
different characters on a daily basis.
Likewise, I find it surprising how actors create these incredibly diverse characters
within a matter of months. It fascinates me that these people take months studying a
fictional character and try to mimic them as if they were that person for their entire life. I
admire the work and effort actors put into their works in order to entertain the audience.
In addition to their physical commitment to their characters, it takes an extreme amount
of psychological and mental conditioning to achieve a believable mindset of another
character. Throughout the productions we have seen inside and outside of class, I have
developed a great admiration for the work behind portraying a completely different
character on stage.

Conversely, I found it very difficult to understand theatres of another culture.


Although we briefly talked about the history of the Arabian peninsula, it was difficult for
me to understand the underlying messages of the Al Najoom Dance Troupe Performance.
The performance was very entertaining and I felt like it brought laughter to the audience,
but I felt like I would have appreciated it more if I had a greater knowledge of their
culture. On the other hand, I developed a connection with their musicians as they were
talking about the development and creation of their instruments. Overall, I feel like
performances from other countries allows us to look at life through a more open
perspective; however I felt that the experience would have been enhanced if i had greater
prior knowledge of their traditions.
Furthermore, I found KSU's euro-centric production of "Into The Woods" to be
very enjoyable. I think since we were able to spend more time studying the creation and
variations of the classic stories in the play, I was able to appreciate the production more. I
found this play to be very airy and upbeat, although there was some conflict in the play. I
enjoyed that it was a musical and how the director chose to portray certain moments in
the play through song. The production of "Into the Woods" was by far my favorite, for it's
skilled actors, costume designs, and the ability to relate to the storyline.
In contrast, I disliked the production of the "The Doctor, the Devil, and My Dad."
There were many aspects of the play I did enjoy. For example, I think the underground
set design in a grave yard as a medium between Heaven and Hell was absolutely creative.
I also thought the crystals and background music was just divine and fit perfectly.
Although I liked the set design, there were more parts of the play that I disliked. I have
found that I am not a big fan of the absurdist theatre. The repetition and discontinuity

draws me back. Another reason I may be prejudice to this play is because a few days
prior to the production someone in my family had passed away; so I was very emotional
and sensitive to the idea of death.
On another note, I have found myself appreciating the creation of theatre more
after establishing a production of my own. I found it surprising how much work the
actors have to put in off stage. Actors have to conduct an ample amount of research in
order to captivate the essence of their character. Another thing I found interesting and
unexpected is how important the visual designs were. The set design create a foundation
for the play. It allows the audience to picture themselves in a completely different setting.
Overall, I think constituting a production of my own allowed me to have a greater depth
and appreciation for theatre.
Throughout this project, I have been grateful for such a cooperative production
group. Each person brought a different sense of creativity to the table, for example each
member of the group contributed in thinking of a new way to incorporate all required
aspects into the shortened scene. Communication is another key aspect that my group did
exceptionally well on. We were able to gather ideas and meeting dates through the
universal app, "Group me". The members of the group truly cooperated as a team in
accomplishing one common goal, success.
Comparatively, I really enjoyed working with my team members. I found that my
creativity skills were implemented in various ways. I was able to create and design the set
and costumes to accommodate the setting of the war in Congo. I was also able to help run
lines with some of the actors, while giving critical suggestions. I was willing to help and
work with all the members, especially the director and stage manager to capture their

vision for the play. I felt that my talent and ability was exerted in the most useful way.
In contrast of working with such great teammembers, there were many times
where we, as a group, faced moments of conflict. For example, we had a a difficult time
trying to find a time outside of class to rehearse. We all had different schedules, and it
was very hard to accommodate to ten people's schedule. We came to the conclusion to
meet on a day where most people, mainly actors, were able to attend. Those who missed
the meeting would have to be filled in over the group message. It created some
controversy on the agreement of some things, but overall it settled into a cohesive plan.
This project has definitely opened my eyes to social issues arising in other
countries. After studying the history of the war in Congo, I have found the horrors and
sacrifice the men of the Congo face when serving in the military. Boys are forced to fight
before they even have the chance to understand the meaning of war. The bodies of
women are used as tools of war to please the fighting men. Their bodies are only for
looks and pleasure, not for soul and compassion. Studying "Ruined" has opened my eyes
to how war affects anything and everything. "Ruined" has shown me the disasters of
poverty and loss of morals caused by war.
In conclusion, I am more than happy that I was given the opportunity to take this
class. This class has given me a greater appreciation for theatre and the arts. It has shown
me to appreciate the work behind performances from everyday acts to grand shows. I
would tell those taking this class to come in with and open mind. I would advise these
students to try to understand in the best of their ability how other basic social issues of
other countries and societies can reflect on our own. I also advise these students to always
act in a timely matter when participating in the group project. Grandly, I advocate

upcoming students to enjoy the experience of creating art.