I’m not usually a big fan of drama in my life, but there are varieties I quite enjoy. Last night we had a bit of both.
Tom was dropped off at rehearsal for his Drama school‘s end of year showcase performance at 3:30pm, he was happy and excited and all was well with the world. When we arrived just after 6:00pm he was sitting outside looking somewhat forlorn. I asked if he was ok and he announced he was feeling sick and wanted to go home.
I had a strong suspicion that either something had happened that upset him or that he was simply suffering from stage fright. But there has been a bit of a tummy bug around, David and I had both had it…
During drama classes early in the year he’d several times suddenly decided he’d had enough and up and walked out of the class to lie on the grass outside (much to his teacher’s consternation, who would look around the room to find Tom missing). He would say it was because he couldn’t stand everyone being so loud – he’s like me, too much noise and chaos makes us both feel physically ill.
At in the middle of the year when the drama school did Midnite in an afternoon and evening show we’d had a similar moment in the time between the two performances. Tom insisted he really wanted to go home, I managed to persuade him to stay and at the end of the night he was admitted to being glad he’d stuck it out.
Last night was a little more complicated, all three grandparents had come to see Tom perform and on top of that Adam and I were both committed to taking part in the parents’ item. Even if Tom bailed out we couldn’t really leave. Eventually, after much negotiation, Tom agreed that we’d sit at the back of the auditorium, near the door, and he could go outside if he needed to. I went to tell his teacher that Adam and I would indeed be there for our performance and the next thing I knew Tom came running up and plonked himself down with his classmates all set to be a part of the show after all. I’d given up trying to persuade him to perform but apparently I’m better at that than I thought.
The show was a series of skits based on Aesop’s fables, written and directed by the students and student teachers. The parent’s item was a brief introduction to Greek theatre and Aesop leading in to The Tortoise and the Hare. It was narrated by Karyn (Tom’s drama teacher) and the parents’ job was to ad lib the actions illustrating the narration. We didn’t know what parts we were getting and we hadn’t seen the script. I ended up with the role of the Tragic Greek, robed in a flannelette sheet toga and armed with a plastic Sting replica. Adam was The Hare, his costume was a ballet skirt and a red scarf (over his blue sun t-shirt, shorts and sneakers), the cause of much hilarity.
The Comic Greek and I were first up, acting out the concepts of Comic and Tragic drama, illustrating the worship of various gods and then throwing Aesop off a cliff at the end of his brief life-story. Then it was time for the fable.
The Tortoise kept removing her shell to take a swing at the Hare, the Hare was having way too much fun playing up to all his female fellow performers and the Tragic Greek completely failed to keep a straight face through it all. Apparently there’s a video of the whole thing out there somewhere, hopefully I can get hold of a copy.
Tom’s class began their skit by coming on stage dancing and then breaking into small groups to act out fables involving donkeys. Tom was the merchant in The Merchant, The Donkey and The Salt. He was awesome (even if I do say so myself), he stomped in anger when the donkey lost the salt in the river and he cheered in glee when his trick with the sponge caught the donkey out. After the show he was explaining about how he had to do really big gestures and expressions so that the audience would see properly – he certainly got that part right!
After all the performances came the awards, medals for students who had been with the school for 3 years, most popular class member and best actor in class both voted for by the class members, best and fairest chosen by the teachers and student teachers, scholarships, and most improved.
In Tom’s class the most improved award went to a “young man who nearly didn’t make it on to stage tonight.”
Here he is this morning, still as proud of himself as he was last night when he went to collect his award and stood on stage with, as he told me, “a bit of a tear in my eye.”
I’m rather proud of him too.