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How I overcame shyness through drama

In conversation with S4A's Alumnus, Lubie

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As part of an ongoing series of conversations with S4A alumni, we spoke with Lubie who was part of Shakespeare4All’s 2023 Gala performance, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream - The Elements of Magic”, an adaptation of the Bard’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

 

She played the role of Robin Starveling as part of the Mechanicals (a group of actors who perform a play within ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’). Lubie told us about a moment during rehearsals that not only empowered her to become a better performer, but also a more expressive and confident young adult.

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Lubie as Robin Starveling in S4A's 2023 Gala Performance

My name is Lubie and I’m 15 right now. I have been on stage ever since I was in kindergarten. From that time many moons ago until now, I have heard a bunch of times from Hamlet the famous line, "To be, or not to be, that is the question". Last year, in 2023, I decided to join S4A Annual Gala performance after a few teachers recommended me to try it out.

 

Before this experience, I had only participated in the school's drama club starting from primary four onwards and had only performed in school (as part of S4A's Transformation Through Creativity programme). Other than wanting to challenge myself, the main reason why I joined S4A’s programme was that I realised all the “dream jobs” younger me had wanted to do in the past were all related to the “Performing Arts”, so I just thought, it wouldn't hurt to try.

My favourite moment during the rehearsals was definitely this one act in which my character had to act as a moon in a play within a play. In this scene, my character kept getting "interrupted" by other characters, causing the moon to erupt and yell at some of the characters.

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As a shy person with a moon on her head, I just wanted to get over the embarrassing scene and get on with the performance, but Mr Nick (i.e. Nicholas Beckwith, S4A Artistic Director), who saw that I was trying to hide, asked me to redo that one line over and over again.

I was ready to melt onto the floor out of embarrassment when I suddenly heard clapping and cheering! Looking around, I saw everyone clapping and cheering for me, screaming “You can do it!” or "You are the best moon!".

Not even joking–that was the first time I had heard a bunch of people clapping and calling out my name. I still remember embracing all those encouragements and I couldn’t help but tear up a little. This moment was not anything too over the top but I still remember it dearly.

"That was the first time I had heard a bunch of people clapping and calling out my name. I still remember embracing all those encouragements and I couldn’t help but tear up a little. This moment was not anything too over the top but I still remember it dearly."

Being with the Mechanicals always made me laugh. At a mechanicals-only rehearsal one time, we were discussing the characters’ backstories and how we would like those characters to express themselves. All the funny bits we had to do not only cracked the audience up but also the actors.

​By far being part of the Gala performance changed me the most in my life. I walked into the audition room all shy and reserved but I stepped off that stage as a person who is no longer scared of talking to new people. Stepping out of my comfort zone has been the biggest turn I took to be the person I am right now. I'm not embarrassed to do unusual things in my life anymore.

“I walked into the audition room all shy and reserved but I stepped off that stage as a person who is no longer scared of talking to new people.”

So this is my advice to all newcomers: step out of your comfort zone, pop that bubble that you trapped yourself in and look around you! When there is an opportunity, take it! You'll never know until you try, don't regret it.

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The conversation was lightly edited for publication.

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