CCA Previews ’22: Raffles Players

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By Karthika Warrier (22S06B), Chairperson, Audrey Lee (22A13A), Vice-chairperson, Er Kay Lynn (22A13A), Quartermistress, Letitia Chen (22A01B), Quartermistress, Megan Sierra Chan (22A13B), Secretary

You are standing in the middle of an empty stage, lit only by a single spotlight. A figure approaches you from the darkness, visible only by the light gleaming off his drawn blade. You throw an insult at him, petty barbs being your final line of defence. He does not take kindly to it. 

“What, you egg?” He stabs you. Ouch. This is your end. 

And… end scene!

Live your life in perpetual melodrama? Truly believe that you’re the main character? Want a chance to bring your High School Musical fantasies to life? Well then, Raffles Players is just the place for you!

Of course, our focus as a CCA is a lot broader than just the acting component of theatre — together, we’ll discover the wonders and intricacies of the backstage world that bring the magic of theatre to life. Along the way, you’ll pick up new skills, receive mentorship from experienced theatre practitioners, and make some of the best memories of your JC life.

What productions do we do?

In a non-Covid-19 year, we typically put up two productions: a mid-year College Production or SYF production (2022 is a SYF year), and an end-year J1 Production. However, amidst the restrictions, our productions are likely to continue online. In 2021, we planned to film our College Production, a staging of Haresh Sharma’s “More” and Don Zolidis’ “Helpdesk”. Previous batches have put up dramas and comedies like 2019’s “The 39 Steps” and 2018’s “Anything but the Brain”. 

A scene from the college production “Noises Off” put up by the 2018 batch.

Players are involved in all aspects of production; whether you’re interested in acting or doing backstage work, there’s definitely a role for you. Though the most obvious role is that of an Actor, other vital positions include being a Stage Manager, assisting in Lights & Sounds, setting the scene with Props & Sets, or driving our production with your artistic vision as a Director! Productions are so much more than platforms for us to showcase our skills. They’re a chance for us to explore the unfamiliar and push the limits of our abilities, all the while forming precious, lifelong memories. 

Our batch is currently producing our 2021 year-end online production. However, there is a significant possibility that with stable Covid-19 numbers next year, productions will be rehearsed and filmed in person, or performed with a small live audience. Regardless, the potential projects and possibilities are limited only by your imagination and artistry. We can promise you that in Players, you will be challenged both on and off stage.

What do sessions look like?

Currently, training sessions happen both online and in-person and are planned by our coach and teachers. In-person sessions typically take place in the Theatre Studies Room (TSD) on Wednesdays, 8 to 11am, and occasional Friday afternoons during intensive production seasons. 

Even with the challenge of learning theatre through a screen during online CCA, we were still able to explore various aspects of theatre. Our instructor engaged us in stage management, as well as lights and sounds training. For many of us who were dabbling in theatre for the first time this year, this was helpful in exposing us to the wider theatre world. Despite the restrictions, the fun we had was always unforgettable, especially because nothing is truly individual — we even tried to simulate a scene with self-made puppetry and all in a breakout room on MsTeams! Collaboration is at the core of theatre — no one walks the path alone. 

Members posing with their injuries after a CCA session on special effects makeup.
A Very Real Fight breaking out in the TSD after a session on stage combat.

During in-person training sessions, we get workshops on anything from special effects makeup to stage combat, depending on what our external instructors have in store. These lessons enable us to develop new skills and discover new areas of interest. 

When it comes to production season, what is done during CCA is often dependent on your role. For instance, actors will likely spend sessions rehearsing with the directors, while someone part of the Props & Sets committee may spend that time designing the set. Overall, these sessions are often fun and exciting, giving us the opportunity to step out of our comfort zones with the support of other members. 

View from the Lights & Sounds room during a technical rehearsal for Haresh Sharma’s “More”. 
Sometimes you sacrifice your teacher-in-charge to test the stability of your set.

Who are we looking for?

Interested but anxious over your lack of experience in theatre? Don’t worry! Most of our members don’t have a background in drama, but we all share the same passion for learning. While we occasionally slip up during practices, we learn to laugh at our mistakes together and grow from the feedback we receive. The stage is yours to have fun and play! 

In a relatively small CCA like Players, commitment and dedication is important. When projects like SYF and our productions roll around, we need all hands on deck: a play doesn’t comprise the actors alone!

If everything you’ve read so far appeals to you, sign up for our auditions! Auditions will take place some time in late January. It typically includes performing a short monologue, an interview, improvisation and more. Don’t let the sound of this intimidate you, as CCA seniors will be around to guide you and make the experience as fun as possible! We hope to see you there!

* Cover image features the 2021-2022 batch of Players (Picture taken by Photographic Society). Taken in accordance with SMMs during the prior phase of Covid-19 measures.

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