Part 8 of the 12 part series: Why Drama is so important in School. – EMPATHY
EMPATHY defined: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Empathy is something that we as parents and educators try to instill in our kids from a very early age. Understanding what another person is going through or feeling can be challenging no matter who you are, but, especially if you are a child. Children just don’t have as much experience in the world yet to understand the many ranges of emotions of humans. However, drama can help! In reality, drama is designed for this!
There is no better way to really grasp the emotions and feelings of another person than to walk in their shoes, this is true. However, a close second is to portray a character that walks in their shoes. Enter the stage. Many actors refer to this as method acting. Some go as far as to live the lifestyle of the character they are portraying. This method can be a bit risky, if not managed correctly, but it helps them create that empathetic link to their character.
For kids, being in a play is a wonderful opportunity to ask the question, “why?”. Why did Macbeth or Hamlet take that action? What drove him to behave that way? Why is Toby Belch always partying? Why is everyone so mad at Caesar? Why was Oberon so mad at Titania? And so on… It’s great to be able to sit and talk to our children about what motivates a human to do what they do. I find many times that we end sitting and dissecting a character’s drive. What’s their backstory? What occurred when they were younger to possibly affect them now? There are so many questions that we get to dive into about emotions and feelings and how a person SHOULD act. Empathy and Drama, it’s a wonderful thing when combined! (Just mix in a great educator or director and magic will happen!)