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In This World – Stories from the Road Week Two

It’s the second week of touring for the cast of In This World so we asked Oyin Oladejo, who plays Neyssa, to share her adventures from the road.

Oyin Oladejo

Oyin Oladejo – Neyssa in In This World

Tuesday After four days off, it was interesting to discover new things on stage. We are expected to react to situations on stage and the result is a seamless game of ping pong between the actors.

Wendesday Meilie and I spoke with our teacher contact at Meadowvale SS about drama students and their comprehension of how to convey several levels of emotion while keeping a sense of truth. We talked about how to help students understand the idea of getting into a character. I believe every actor must, at the end of the day, tell a story. That’s the point of our meeting between the actor and audience. The actor is there to tell the audience a story and to educate. Meilie likes to think of character creation like a game. The game idea sits better with her as it creates a space for action and reaction. The writer David Mamet explains it as ‘the hunter and the game’. The students at both schools today were more than eager to help us. Students made comments like “how did you build the set, it’s so cool” and “thank you for bringing this topic to our schools”.

The audience and stage at Meadowvale SS. Set design by Lindsay Anne Black.

Thursday I realized last night that I was going to be performing at my sibling’s school today. It was quite refreshing to be seen onstage by my sister! There have been a few interesting things that have become apparent on this tour so far. I have observed from the audience that the play gets most of its laughter during the first half of the show. However, after I say to Bijou ‘Thanks for going off with my cousin and leaving me alone with Frank so he could lock me in your basement,” the audience shifts its whole being. It’s as though they’ve agreed to what might have happened. The laughter then curbs and takes an uncomfortable stance. More importantly, I see some audience members, boys in particular, take turns not looking at us, the actors and just listening to the dialogue. My take on this observation is that although they may look disinterested they may actually sympathize with the characters more than we realize. I hear more girls state that Neyssa shouldn’t have sat on Frank’s lap at the party. This reminded me of a recent Toronto study that revealed a shocking percentage of males and females agreed to the statement it’s the girl’s fault if raped when engaging with sexual activities with her partner. It would be interesting to find out what makes young people have such thoughts. A comment from the audience that I found interesting was that parents are part of the reason why girls don’t speak up when they have been raped. They feel that this is because they don’t get enough empowerment from their parents. One girl said that people commit sexual assault to feel in control and powerful. Thus, if parents empowered their boys, they wouldn’t need to seek power by such means. I assume the same goes for girls. If empowered, they would be more compelled to speak out against their attackers. Now that’s a thought! The most important message we hope to get out to the students that watch this show is, of course, that no means no – no matter what. I’m loving the tour, but I have to admit that waking up before 6 AM is not my favourite part. 🙂 Happy blog!

Stage Manager’s view-point. Meilie Ng and Oyin Oladejo. Set design by Lindsay Anne Black.

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