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Alexander Residence: From play to performance

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

From play to performance

It's the first week I have joined the Sleep is for the Weak writing workshop and I have been meaning to for so long.  I'm trying to fit in an OU Diploma in Creative Writing, although I keep finding myself blogging instead of doing coursework.  Maybe the writing workshop is a good compromise?

The writing prompts are all to do with remembering and childhood.  This is a mix of seeing the nursery show from my child's perspective (prompt 3), which stimulated some 'bittershiny' baubles of memory of my own childhood experiences of performing (prompt one).

Miss L
Mummy is it nursery today?  Is it the show?  I don't want to be in the show.  I don't want to sing Beatles songs, I want to sing 12345 Once I caught a fish alive.  I don't like it when all the mummies and daddies are staring at me.  It's too loud.  I don't know where we are.  This hall is huge.  Why are we in the church for the show?  Why aren't we in nursery? Everyone is looking at me.  This is where we do playgroup.  With Mummy.  I miss Mummy.  I want to be with Mummy.  I'm poorly. 

Year 1-  I am standing in the school hall at lunch time, small and excited and fresh from running round the playground.  My best friend has dragged me in to audition for the choir.  The teacher hits a note on the piano, it reverberates off the polished wood floors and across to the wall where the pull out wooden climbing frame is fixed.  It sounds beautiful.  She asks me to sing the note back, I do, loud and proud and full of enthusiasm.  She tells me 'No'.  I am sent back to the playground.  My friends can stay.

Year 3 - I am a snowflake, we are doing the Nutcracker.  I have a floaty white costume and I twirl and dance beautifully.  Someone knocks the Christmas tree and lots of decorations fall off,  Tracey says it was me.  I am cross and say it wasn't, but everyone is staring at me afterwards.  Laura says she can see my pants through my costume.  I am cross with mummy for putting me in navy pants, she smiles and tells me how well I did.  She didn't notice the decorations fall off.

Year 6.  We are auditioning for Snow White.  I refuse.  My teacher asks me to 'just read the witch's part' so that Joanne can audition for Snow White.  I make a very scary witch.  The next day I am cast as Snow White.  Jenny teases me and says I'll have to kiss Ian who is the prince.  I cry and refuse to do it.  But something has changed in me.  After Christmas I write and direct a play for my class.

Year 7 - I am cast as Cinderella.  I am supposed to kiss Prince Charming Paul, but we just skip that bit.

It just kept on going from there, I loved Drama at secondary school, I studied it at University and I became a Drama teacher.  It took me time, and lots of encouragement to find my confidence.  And a teacher who cleverly tricked me into performing when the spotlight was elsewhere. 

Confidence is a delicate little bird, it needs to be nurtured and released slowly into the world.  I took Miss L to a drama workshop recently that was about play rather than performance and she absolutely shone.  I know performing is a useful skill, but sometimes it heaps on a whole load of pressure on where it just isn't needed.

Thanks for reading, looking forward to reading the other posts :)

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At 16 December 2010 at 04:37 , Blogger Emma said...

Glad you joined the writing workshop, great first post. School plays can be a bit traumatic - I was supposed to be Angel Gabriel in my infant nativity and cried my eyes out at the rehearsal because I didn't want to read my lines, I was eventually swapped with a 'regular angel'!

I've voted for you by the way for Brilliance in blogging - good luck :)

At 16 December 2010 at 10:26 , Anonymous SeaThreePeeO said...

Firstly welcome to Writing Workshop!

What a wonderful post. I am glad that you didn't allow the knocks to your confidence snuff out the love of performing arts. Hopefully Miss L will gain in her confidence at performing too.

At 17 December 2010 at 06:13 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. I'm a newbie to the WW too, it's a little scary. I loved the line about confidence being like a little bird.

All three of mine enjoyed drama at school. My eldest played the lead role in Guys & Dolls. When she started to sing I couldn't believe it. We never knew she had that voice. Years of not doing any performances has knocked their confidence and they say they couldn't do it now. It's a shame when that happens.

I'm sure Miss L will have lots more opportunities to shine. x

At 17 December 2010 at 13:38 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Thanks for the lovely welcome everyone, and lovely to meet some familiar faces from other blogging adventures! I really enjoyed your writing :)

At 17 December 2010 at 16:59 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is such a lovely posting, it captures the thoughts and feelings of a child so well, I really enjoyed reading it.
Welcome to the Writing Workshop! xxx

At 18 December 2010 at 09:44 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great first post! Being in a play of some sort seems to be quite the rite of passage for so many kids. I'm glad you found a love of drama in the end!

At 19 December 2010 at 07:55 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely post! Yes, it can take some time to feel confident... I am new at the Writing Workshop and had been meaning to join for quite a while too!


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