As an individual, I learned a lot of good values that I could put to use in my everyday life. There is no doubt that this by working on making this play a success, my course mates and I have managed to come closer as a group. Eunice and I were given the responsibility of handling the music direction. I was also given the task of portraying a minor character called the Prince of Morocco.
A good lesson I learned while completing this assignment was the evils of prejudice. This is exactly why I don’t see the character of Shylock as completely cruel. It was the society he lived in that ‘taught’ him how to become heartless. I still do not understand why Shakespeare had to portray Shylock as being evil as well as showing mercy to his character. If Shakespeare was trying to educate the society then on the negative aspects of prejudice, then why do it like this? Perhaps portraying a Jew as a good person would have been controversial in that era. But it surely teaches us how it can shape a person’s character and even turn him or her into someone ruthless. I also realized that I now really understand the message the play is trying to convey. It is totally different than merely memorizing facts discussed in class. Simplifying the text of the play one scene after another in order to modernize it really gave me an insightful lesson of what the play is all about.
Since this assignment was to be completed in a team, I learned a lot on the meaning of teamwork. I had to coordinate with people with different working styles, which proved to be quite a challenge. I had to work alongside people from different departments such as the lighting people and the multimedia people. Everyone had different point of views on things and was constantly looking into their own convenience. I had to accept all of these maturely by not taking any of it too personally. I have worked in groups many times over this assignment had definitely taught me the most on teamwork.
The next thing I learned through this assignment is respect. By learning to respect others’ opinions and differences, I felt as if I had bypassed another level of maturity altogether. Some of my course mates might have behaved offensively by refusing to accept others’ opinions by making sure they had the last say. But that does not necessarily mean I had to act the same way, and for the very first time in my life, I realized that! If I was in this position one or two years back, I would have reacted differently. I was rather unhappy when a few of my fellow course mates did not like my interpretation of the Prince of Morocco despite Madam Rose, one of my English Studies lecturers complimenting me on it. They insisted I work on another one and guided me all the way through. But when I explained to them some of my ideas, they did show some respect for me by actually listening and understanding what I had to say.
Besides that, I also learned much on how to handle conflicts. By staging this play, I have learned to put aside my emotions and personal dissatisfactions in order to work together with people different from me. A very valuable lesson I learned during the many weeks of countless rehearsals and practices is that though someone may be very different to you and might not even look eye to eye with you in almost everything, it does not make him or her a bad person. This might explain why I have so much more respect to my superiors now than I did before. They managed to bring together the class as one big group by putting aside their own personal conflicts, and I followed their footsteps on this all the way through.
Procedure is another lesson I learnt during this period. Despite most of the practices and rehearsal being conducted informally without the presence of any lecturers, there still exists a certain procedure that everyone had to obey. I never had a firsthand experience on how it was like going against it, but witnessing what others went through surely was a wake-up-call. A fellow course mate who happened to be the leader of his committee took matters into his own hand by not consulting the director, her assistants or anyone in that matter on a decision he made by himself and had to face the music eventually once everything he worked on had to be scrapped off. Even the director and her assistants would consult the class on any large scale decisions they had to make in order to count votes. As a result, I made sure everyone was alright with my choice of song to be played during the credits after the ending of the play – Ever Ever After. Some of my friends had their own choices, and I agreed to play them after this song, just so to make everyone happy. But I also made sure they were suitable to be used too. Democracy is most certainly the best policy.
As a result, I have come out a better man after the staging of this play. I dare not say to what extend because I definitely have much more to learn in the future. Not only have I learned literature, but I was indirectly motivated to become a better person in many ways. As I sit down and reflect on what I have learned and transfer it all down onto paper, it is all clear how different it is to work in a group. It is more fun and challenging at the same time. I look forward to another assignment where the whole class can work together once again as a group.