On Sunday I grabbed the dogs and went into school, to spend the day with some of my year 12 Theatre Studies kids, working on making set pieces for this year’s play: Jasper Jones.
Theatre Studies is an interesting but demanding course. The first thing the kids have to do is to put on a play by running everything themselves as if they’re a theatre company. Some teachers keep the role of director for themselves, just to keep control, but I think that goes against the spirit of the course. We choose the play at the end of the previous year, then the kids have a term or so to learn the lines, block the scenes, build the set, organise props, costume, publicity, ticket sales, makeup, lighting and sound…. then it’s performance time.
This year, because I’m going overseas, I didn’t want to have the last week of term taken up with the production, so I pushed it back to the first week in May. I’m gone all holidays and for the first week of term 2, so I’ll have a week back with the kids before we go on. They’re a lovely bunch and they’re working hard and they’re keen to have as much done before I leave as they can.
A measure of how diligent they are – the school has a massive build going on at the moment and there’ll be no electricity on in the holidays, so they can’t use the Theatre at school. They’ve hired a Scout hall out of their own money, with help from the previous year’s director to get “mates’ rates.” They’ll keep working while I’m gone.
Part of the challenge is to scrounge or make as much as they can to make the most of their limited budget. So Sunday was the second ‘Working Bee’ day.
I go along to open up the Theatre, to supervise them to make sure no one gets pregnant or hurts themselves by doing stupid things. (LOL) I bring the thermomixes in and make lunch for them and generally chat and bond with them. It’s no real hardship, even though it’s the weekend, because Theatre kids are generally lovely kids and we’re all pulling together on a task we want to succeed at.
To be honest, it’d be easier to leave the dogs at home but I hardly see them during the week so I bring them along to these things. Scout isn’t happy at first, but once I produce a ball and the kids start throwing it for her, she’s as happy as a pig in muck. I bring their bed with me and they stay on that when we’re running through lines, so it all works out well. The kids are always rapt to see them and the dogs aren’t averse to some serious patting, so it’s a win/win.
It’s a challenging script with some pretty serious themes. Racism, incest, suicide… something for everyone. It’s also pretty funny as well. We’ve set a recommended age limit of 15+ for the General Public audience, but the exciting thing is that the year 10’s are studying the novel this year, so our Dress Rehearsal is going to be performed in front of them. We’re all really pumped about that.
I know that the other blog is all about Financial Independence and Retiring Early, (FIRE), but I’d have to say that I’m pretty lucky in that I really like what I do for a living. (Unless I’m sitting in a pointless meeting, but that goes without saying.) The kids I teach are eager to learn and succeed, and they’re also HILARIOUS at times. Every day they make me laugh.
Wish us luck for May. There’s no better feeling than sitting up the back of the Lecture Theatre watching the kids absolutely nail it during their performance. It makes giving up some Sundays absolutely worthwhile.