Five minutes with Viva students Anthony and Salina

“It has given me the confidence that I need to go out into the world and speak.”

In our first joint sibling interview, Anthony Sarcasmo Gerdes and Salina Sarcasmo Gerdes discuss their AMEB accreditations, how speech and drama has influenced their confidence, and give excellent advice for memorising pieces!

Both Anthony and Salina have been doing Speech and Drama since they were in Year 2. They’ve performed poems and duologues together, and last year co-hosted the Viva Voice Showcase!

They recently both achieved their AMEB Certificate in Voice and Communication, a big achievement after many years of dedication to their speech and drama practise.

This is the seventh in a series of interviews with Viva students.

Can’t watch the interview right now? You can read the full transcript below.

Anthony: My name is Anthony Sarcasmo Gerdes and I am 16 years old.

Salina: My name is Salina Sarcasmo Gerdes and I’m 15 years old. I’ve been doing speech and drama since I was about in Year 2, and I’ve continued it all the way through and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

Anthony: I’ve been doing speech for quite a long time. I started when I was about in Year 2. I’ve had a little break in between, but almost followed it through religiously throughout the years.

When I started, I used to have a really bad stutter. And just doing these classes, has really, it’s helped me overcome the stutter and given me the confidence that I need to go out into the world and speak. It feels great just being able to speak to someone and able to communicate your ideas, is so helpful.

I know people who have trouble speaking, I almost feel sorry for them because I was in the position that they are in. It’s really great that I’m able to do something and speak clearly because people can understand me. And when they understand me, they listen to you more and take you more seriously. It’s helped me out throughout my whole life in many ways.

Salina: Well, I remember when I first started speech and drama, my Mum was just like, “Anthony, you’ve got to go and do speech and drama.” And I was just the tagalong. But I probably wasn’t that excited to do it at first. I thought, now I’ve got to do another thing with my brother. But, it’s definitely made us closer together, and I love the whole process.

Anthony: Yeah, it has. It’s one of those great things of being able to, especially with my sister, being able to … Because we don’t really get to spend much time together, always at school or doing sports, something like that. It’s really great to be able to sit down and actually learn with my sister, which I’ve never had the opportunity to do.

Salina: One key memory I have of performing with my brother was actually at a showcase when I was probably in Year 3 or 4 maybe. And we did Alice in Wonderland. So I was Alice, and he was the caterpillar, and that was probably one of the best memories I have of performing with him. We just had a lot of fun practicing it. I remember your costume was just like a sheet sewn together.

Anthony: I’m pretty sure I had one of my sister’s old headbands, and we got one of those frizzy wires and put a little soft ball at the end of it. I guess all those creative things you get to put along with it, it’s fun. That’s the thing about it, it’s fun, it’s interesting, and you can get involved in it. I’m glad I did that piece in particular.

Salina: One of the best ways that I found, to practice and learn all my pieces is actually practicing in the car. It sounds like a very weird thing to just read out pieces in a car, but, I found it quite effective. I always had my book in the car, you read through it, you can use expression. I mean, no one’s really watching you. You’re just talking to the back of the seats. But, yeah, it was really good to just learn your pieces, get the hang of them and build expression over time. And that five or 10 minutes a day builds up. I found that probably the most effective strategy for learning and improving my pieces.

And another thing that practicing in the car also does is, you’re doing it a little bit every day and it’s very consistent. So, when you memorise something, it’s very hard to just sit down and read the speech and memorise it in an hour, but doing that five minutes every day, eventually, you’ll be reading it, but you’re not actually paying attention on what you’re reading, it just sort of comes naturally, the memorisation.

Anthony: Yeah, it’s one of those things where I personally, have a bit of trouble sitting down and memorising something because I find I get a bit bored, get a bit distracted. But just having those short segments, like five, 10 minutes every day, it’s not too long, you can just read through it, you can understand it, and you start to memorise it. And it builds up gradually, but if you look at it from the start of when you start memorising it and you’re like, wow, just by going through it in the car, you can physically see how far you’ve come and developed on that piece of work.

I decided to more focus on a presentation aspect, so I started picking up the voice and communication by the AMEB. Quite recently, I was able to achieve quite a big thing, my certificate in Voice and Communication. So that was quite a big thing for me, as it’s almost a recognition of just how far I’ve come. And now I’m a certified Voice and Communication’s presenter.

Salina: One of the greatest accomplishments so far is my certificate in Voice and Communications. This is something that I would never believe that I could achieve when I started doing my exams in Year 3. And now that I’ve got it, it’s such an accomplishment to have. And it’s definitely taught me many life skills that I’ve used.

One big thing I’ve noticed that Voice and Communications has helped me to be able to do is just speaking to an audience. And I know personally, in any class presentation, having these skills have definitely helped me. And in comparison to other students, I always noticed that there’s always that one person who’s either swaying or stuttering, doesn’t look at the audience. And it’s those key skills that make you a good presenter. And I just feel very fortunate to be able to have these skills.