Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Theatricality

I have always been afraid of being up on stage. I'd get sick, lose my appetite, and just do something repeatedly (like walking up and down the stairs) hours before my turn onstage. Thus, it comes as a big surprise for me eleven years after my very first technical presentation, that I am actually spending a lot time in front of audiences who come from different walks of life, talking about rice as food.


me (wearing a pink bandana) walking media practitioners through an activity. Photo from  IRRI's Twitter account (@RiceResearch).

At some point this year, I was asked to make my presentation as interactive as possible (probably because the audience for that presentation were indoors for a whole-day stretch and needed to be entertained). I had taken up the challenge and adopted one of The Glee Project's core skills as a keyword: theatricality. Since that point, I've been asked to present the science that I do to general audiences that way. In the presentation to media practitioners (see photo above), I didn't even use slides anymore, as per discussion with the organizers.

I am still have stage fright, don't get me wrong. My hands still get cold and clammy (as Val and Matty can attest) and I still walk in circles to manage my nerves. But I've finally embraced the fact that theatricality/ having a conversation with a crowd is one of the things that I need to improve on if I want to help make science become something the general public can appreciate; something that is not limited to the realm of geeks and nerds.