Student Spotlight: Ryan Yin
LearningLeaders students are not only debaters, but multi-talented young adults! In this issue of Student Spotlight, we introduce Ryan Yin. Ryan recently starred in Shanghai American School’s production of Little Shop of Horrors, a musical. He, along with Ted Chang and Michael Tang, two other LearningLeaders debaters, pulled off a tremendous show, to the delight, laugher, and applause of a packed audience. Hats off to Ryan and the team for a successful production! See an interview with him below, here.
1) How did you get interested in the performing arts and theater?
Well, I guess I always liked to act, because it was so much fun. My friends also persuaded me to try out for a play called Captain Bree and it was lots of fun, and that was basically the start of my life as a thespian.
2) What are some of your favorite musicals or plays?
Two of my favorite musicals are Wicked and Billy Elliot. When I went to see them in London, they were absolutely fantastic. The acting, singing, dancing, everything was just so polished and amazing. What stood out to me for Wicked was Defying Gravity, since it is an extremely hard song to perform. Not only that, I especially enjoyed the characters inside of the storyline. Billy Elliot was another one of my favorites, because of the dancing. The dancing was spectacular, and to see that the main character is played by a 9 year old is just amazing.
3) What was your experience working on Little Shop of Horrors?
Little Shop of Horrors was the best play that I have been in, especially because the cast was much smaller than others, therefore we were able to bond more and form a family. Working in Little Shop of Horrors was a very tough experience. Since the script was not simplified in any way, so basically, we did what people on broadway did. Everyone was under lots of pressure, since a few people were first-timers; who did a great job. In the end, this experience was a learning experience and I had lots of fun with it.
4) How are public speaking and acting similar? How are they different?
Public speaking and acting are similar, because for both there is an audience. Public speaking comes in many different forms and so does acting. For example if public speaking was in the form of story telling, you can see that both acting and story telling use emotion to help tell the story. Lastly, public speaking and acting both require lots of vocal variation to keep the audience interested. They are different because when you act there is the fourth wall, but in public speaking, there isn’t. The fourth wall is basically the wall that separates you from the audience. In acting, the audience is not there, hence the fourth wall blocks the audience. In public speaking, however, you are directly addressing them and talking to them. In many ways public speaking and acting are similar, it is just the way that you look at them. In the end, for both you are a character, when you speak publicly or act, you don’t tend to be the same person you are off stage.
5) Do you hope to continue performing in musicals in the future?
Yes, I do plan to continue performing in future productions. After all, it is one of the things that I am good at and tons of fun. Not only that, I am constantly learning new things as I am exposed to new environments as an actor and a singer.