CCA Previews ’19: Raffles Players

By Loh Su Jean (19A01A), Chairperson, Audrey Wan Earn Jia (19A13A), Vice-Chairperson, Yu Ke Dong (19A13A), Treasurer, Ada Lum (19S06O), Quartermaster, Hannah Chiah (19S06T), Quartermaster, and Naia Nathan (19A01A), Secretary

No, we’re not those kind of players.

Raffles Players is a one-of-a-kind one-and-a-half-year journey that’ll take you from “do we have a script?” to curtain call. In other words, we’ll show you what it takes to put up a show-stopping theater production. In the process, you’ll pick up skills you never thought you’d need, receive mentorship from experienced and well-learned theatre practitioners and make some of the best friends and memories of your JC life.

Be warned, the path to becoming a full-grown Player isn’t exactly paved with roses. Between the late-night set construction, hysteria in the lights box, and that one monologue that no one can remember right, Raffles Players is certainly not the CCA for anyone looking for a simple commitment.

Raffles Players is a vibrant community passionate enough to put any idea into practice. Here, you might just find your home away from home. And as the last spotlight shuts its golden eye and the music reaches crescendo, no one could say the people around you weren’t worth the effort.

Do you need Broadway or West End experience? Absolutely not. We are open to new additions from all walks of life; the greater the diversity, the better. We love having a good time, and between our zumba warm-up sessions and pre-production dance parties, we sure as hell know how to have it! And despite the niche appeal of drama, the things we learn range far beyond what is only applicable in the theatre, including basic construction and design skills, vocal projection, body language and public speaking techniques (perfect for PW OP). Sounds good? Let’s continue!

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We love a good time.

What productions do you do?

Raffles Players engages in three or more significant productions each year, making it a pretty hectic time at certain points of the school year.

Dramafeste/ SYF

The first production of note is either Dramafeste or SYF; both events are biennial and take place in lieu of each other every year. Dramafeste is a inter-house competition organised by Raffles Players, where teams of house members put up small 15 minute plays and are judged for their creativity, flair, and wit (as well as responsibility and cleanliness!) It is an exciting time, where both Players and non-Players put their minds together and invent brilliant skits to entertain their schoolmates.

In the case of SYF (Singapore Youth Festival), Raffles Players creates a 15 minute play from scratch and presents it at the Festival. We work hard for many months to put together a good play, and for many of us, it’s an important experience that allows us to learn from each other and from other talented theatre students.

College Production

Our College Production is held once a year at the Performing Arts Centre. You may have heard of our College Production last year: Noises Off, a three-hour farce comedy featuring an eight person cast, a revolving two-storey set piece and a whole lot of sardines. College Productions usually involve both senior and junior batches working together, with two or three performance nights and a larger cast and crew. These tend to be ambitious, large in scale and highly demanding, but are also the most exciting productions of the year.

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A scene from our College Production “Noises Off”, which featured physical stunts, lots of doors that opened and closed but were not necessarily capable of both, and which had the audience in helpless laughter at the end of the show.

J1 Production

Our J1 Productions, held during the A Level period when the seniors have gone into extreme studying mode, are meant for the junior batch to experiment and find their own unique theatrical voices. This year’s J1 batch put up a double bill: Five Angry Spirits and Everything But The Brain. The two plays’ distinctive styles, narratives, and directions left the audience reeling.

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And that’s a wrap!

What are the hours like?

You may have heard that we have only one official CCA session, on Wednesday from 3pm to 5pm. This, however, often doesn’t hold true. During production season, these sessions often go into overtime, and that’s given that members often attend additional rehearsals twice, thrice, and occasionally, even four times a week to prepare themselves for production night.

What do you do in sessions?

What we do in sessions often depends on whether it’s production season or not. When we aren’t conducting our own rehearsals for upcoming productions, we are honoured to have seasoned theatre practitioners and trainers from Buds Theatre Company to come in and teach us the art of drama, from mime and improvisation workshops to musical theatre trainings.

When it comes to production season, what we do during sessions highly depends on your own role, which will differ in each production so that everyone has an opportunity to learn new skills and gain new experiences.

For instance, if you have been cast as an actor, you will likely be working together with talented castmates to achieve a moving portrayal of your character. If you are a part of the Lights and Sounds committee, you will be working with an exciting range of technical effects to give the production that out-of-this-world sensation. If you are a part of the Sets committee, you will have a hand in designing and putting together set pieces to bring the production to life.

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Learn your cues and the ladies of Lights and Sounds will smile fortune down on you.

 

If you’ve been placed in Production comm, which includes roles such as stage manager and production manager, you’ll be the glue that holds everything together, tackling everything from taking stock of props to scheduling rehearsals. And of course, the Director provides the creative vision for the team to adhere to.

 

Should I join Players?

While some of our members come with a background in drama, many of us do not. However, what remains consistent is the willingness to try out new things; in other words, be a good sport. We don’t presume to know everything; therefore, we also have to be receptive to criticism from our mentors and from each other. We are also a relatively small CCA, so our members have to stay committed and work together as a team to put everything together for the big night.

Dedicating ourselves to creating a brilliant production is probably the most important prerequisite to being a Player. We are nothing if not passionate about the art of theatre , and we take joy in putting together a good play that we all thought would be impossible to achieve.

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Auditions will take place some time in February. It’ll include segments such as monologue reading, interviews, group improvisation, and more! Sounds intimidating? Don’t worry, because our CCA seniors will be around to provide a guiding hand and make things as fun and chill as possible!

So, do you believe you fit the bill (pun intended)? Will you cast in your lot with Raffles Players (again, pun intended)? Then see you at our auditions soon!

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