From the OC Register, Contact the writer: 714-796-2258 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Applause filled the Valencia High School auditorium as the drama class watched pantomime artist Cary Trivanovich perform skits including a comedic slow-motion Western gunfight and a sentimental portrait of aging during a recent master class.
The students were eager to learn from Trivanovich’s pantomime techniques as they prepared for their play “The 39 Steps” as well as for the upcoming Drama Teachers Association of Southern California competition and festival.
When it comes to drama performance, it is important to be able to establish location and characterization through clearly pantomimed gestures.
“The story is all in motions, so sometimes it’s hard to show what is going on,” said sophomore drama studentAustin Nugent.
After Trivanovich performed selections from his repertoire, he gave tips and pointers about how to deliver a scene to the audience.
“Technically, the movements you use are the only tools you have to communicate the story,” he said.
Rose Kofman, a junior, is co-directing the pantomime scene that the school will perform at the Drama Teachers Association festival. After watching Trivanovich, Kofman said she was ready to implement some of his methods. “We have to go through our scene slowly, frame by frame, and really focus in on the story that is inside all of us.”
Grace Stanton, the school’s drama teacher, said her students first learn pantomime in beginning drama, where they focus on creating a clear story and then work on portraying clear characters.
Like a lot of Valencia’s students, Trivanovich started performing when he was in high school. From there, he became a comedic pantomime artist performing on cruise ships and at theater festivals and churches, as well as at more than 4,000 schools throughout the United States and Canada. Part of Trivanovich’s usual performance includes motivational speaking, and he hopes the pantomime acts portray the same truth as the words he offers to his audiences.
“When I first started performing, it was all about me,” Trivano
He provided encouraging words to the students.
“I want you to remember that art is one of the most-needed professions known in the history of mankind,” Trivanovich told the class. “When people of other professions have a bad day, need to relax or think, all of them go home and watch movies, listen to music, etc.”
For the Drama Teachers Association competition, the four students performing in the pantomime category will get four chairs and five minutes to tell a developed story. The pantomime quartet will present a piece called “All in Good Time,” about a boy and girl who navigate through their day separately, just missing each other until the very end, when they finally meet face-to-face.
The team must bring environments such as bedrooms, bathrooms and a coffee shop to life without visual or verbal cues.
“It’s a fun challenge to create your own objects and use those to paint a picture,” said sophomore Evi Lister.
Senior Janeth Garcia is a co-director with Kofman. “Pantomime is a good way to express yourself without words,” she said.
Trivanovich would agree.
“The audience is identifying with the actors and with what it means to be human,” he said. “Deeper than entertaining the senses, art touches the heart.”
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