The party’s over now and we must ” part” as good friends do.
There is no doubt in our mind that this has been a great Panto year. Mother Goose and its Russian splendour has made for excited casts and satisfied audiences throughout December.
The road has been long since September, and those even longer Spires rehearsals, now just a distant fork full of caviar on delicious warm blinis ( a little culture once more).
Our Mother Goose T-shirts in their blue, red , green and purple hues have worn well – through creative blood, sweat and many a tear.
And now even those characterful costumes need to rest. To be hung up …boxed away …to see another play – part perhaps of a brand new Heritage.
We never know what will happen when we start any show, we never can imagine what it will become – shaped by those who must give all of themselves to bring it to amazing stage light.
The writer, the directors, the music, the design, the costume, the creative team and the actors; It is a whole array of talent that comes together to play.
And although you may see that “acting” comes last on the list here, understand that this is not because you as performers are less worthy, but rather that you are truly supported by a network of people whose job it is to let your light shine, long before you reach your stage.
For you more importantly it is the role of the creative team – in shape of your PANTO Tutors and your stage management team that have directly impacted on your successful run of Mother Goose 2013
Without their advice and guidance and keen theatrical eye – you would have lost your way when opening night was past and your last acting ‘train’ had departed for your “snow globe” end.
David and Nicki have been an inspirational force in keeping you safe on your panto journey and although your Team Leaders and Deps may be foremost in your thoughts as your directors here – think of this and maybe you will see that any picture has more significance in the “background” than you might imagine.
I seldom work creatively well with people – perhaps I am just too picky , too demanding , too diva , too precise, too ” I’ll just do it my way”
But when I do…it is as if the artistic planets align and we become one golden arrow to victory.
I would not even begin to imagine what being my support in a room must be like – knowing what to say or do could be a pressure too much for some to bear, you have to be made of strong “Mhairi”creative stuff and ready to step forward and let your true theatre voice ring for me to really hear.
“We are such stuff as dreams are made on…” is one of my favourite quotes from Shakespeare – it comes from “the Tempest” one of Shakespeare’s “magic” plays – a play full of sound and fury and spells…when done well it is like one of his other plays ” a dream” .
So what relevance is this little phrase to your Panto? And to your Tutors.
Just this – you are such “stuff ” as dreams are made on , because they – your tutors – made you… In “their” own way – MAGIC
They never wavered in their discipline , never became too “friendly” so that they would not be able to ever steer you truthfully “right”, sang every note with you, danced every step, spoke every line, felt every emotion , experienced every high and low you shared along your way.
They are the “unsung” heroes of this play. The ones left to tidy and to clear , to note , to organise, to reprimand, to advise, to support , to understand , to cajole , to bolster and revive, to love and inspire with truth, honesty and heartfelt PACE way.
They may not have been in a costume and stood beside you as the curtain rose on your day, but like the brave force they both became – they were with you , in spirit and passion, from show up to show down. All the way, every way…
Watching from their box , their creative pedestal, out of sight but not absent from your scene.
They were my mind, heart and soul even though I was not there. They put themselves in my director’s chair and did what all good directors do – just let you out to “play”.
When I asked them if they wanted something to say here in this last Panto post – they said this of you:
“…Panto tutors would just like to congratulate everyone on their outstanding success in this panto and thank them for their efforts! It has been an Inspirational experience for us both and we look forward to see what is to come from each individual In the new year!”
A fitting comment from those that choose to always put YOU first in their thoughts , as they have done right through this run of Mother Gosse 2013.
You will never get the best from people in drama by choosing to just be their “friend”. You can come close and form close creative relationships but in order to truly inspire , support and guide young people – you must always step back for the temptation to just always be nice and popular and to be liked.
Nice doesn’t make for good drama – honesty does.
Popularity brings a lot of personal pressure – pressure that can affect your relationships with people in and out of the space
And…having to always be liked by the people you work or play with is a heavy burden to carry around with you , when you give all of yourself away to others and leave nothing of what you like about yourself behind to be YOU.
I hope my Team Leaders have learned this most difficult director’s lesson this year. Learned that people may not like you for what you are saying to them in the context of your direction , but that they will thank, respect and hold you in greater personal esteem here after because you helped them in ways that will benefit their long term lives
That you are nice, popular and liked in your own “drama” way.
None of us are perfect but as long as we are true to our ideals then we can be assured of a happier and more personally fulfilled future.
I know each one of you will have found this process challenging at times – you would not be being honest if you said that this has been easy and will have most definitely have had difficulties trying to separate friendship from better direction many times I am sure.
More with some than with others.
It is always easier to direct those that are younger, because they know you only as “an elder” that must be listened to , but it is far harder to direct and remove your personal friendships from the equation, with those you share your “outside” life with.
This is the test of true leadership and I always say that those that manage to hang on to themselves and what they know is “right” for the drama and not for their friendship , stand the best chance of growing from this team leading experience.
You may be desperate to be a team leader or depute , but to be a great one takes real drama guts. Something that is the “stuff” of those theatre dreamers
Maybe you can at least come out of this Panto – realising that you still have things “personally” to work on – to help you be stronger for the things you want to achieve in later life.
Because “You” will meet many people in your working lives that are not easy to work with , that you may become too friendly with , that you do not like for all sorts of reasons and knowing how to hang on to your own “personal confidence and sense of right and wrong” in this jungle of adult personality is something that experiences like this Panto can really help with.
You are almost test driving your ability to cope as part of the “human” race.
Even those of you who were just Serf and Citizen Chorus – how did you cope in your team life?
Did you address things you know you find difficult ?
Allow yourself to let go a bit more ?
Trust yourself to trust others ?
Did you sink or swim, rise …or just choose to “sit out” of this Panto challenge?
Only you and your “ego” know that truthful answer. Whether you can say or not – is for you to live with here on in.
So where do you go from here?
For some this is your last Panto adventure. Years of treading these Christmas boards will end now and all your pantos will just be lovely sentimental memories to bring out in Christmas conversations in years to come.
I want to thank you for your “wonderful spirit” in all you have done to bring joy to the PACE audiences over the years , that come to see our special Christmas play.
You are forever part of this “legacy of excellence” and will always be thought of as “the best” of PACE at Christmas. You are part of something special, something that few get to ever experience as a young person.
Next year you will maybe sit in the PACE Panto audience and remember the utter joy you felt to be on stage as part of a team of people who believed they could really “fly”!
These experiences make you whole – a whole lot happier. Never forget that, hold it close to your heart forever.
For “others” the thought of being part of next year’s Panto may be something you are already secretly wishing for.
It is a long way away and much can happen in between – so how can you fill the Panto void from now till next December ?
That is where PACE YOUTH THEATRE comes back into your life – to pick you up again and to carry you forward to Panto 2014.
You will be changed now from before. Panto unlike many other PACE group projects does that automatically.
Something to do with being totally happy around people who share your natural passion for entertainment.
You may “move” much better now , more aware of your physicality as a performer – the fact things come into acting play now – below your head and neck and arms …
You may have a voice now , not just loud in a song , but in the room with others, voicing your thoughts and emotions and feelings
You may even have a better mindset – know what you want from PACE and understand that only harder work is going to get that for you, maybe you now just “get it” when before you didn’t…
If lucky you may even have more passion, a feeling that you can’t quite explain but something deep inside you that tells you want to reach higher , be stronger , go forward not backwards in your performance.
Voice, movement, mind, spirit – these are “the stuff ” true acting dreams are made on.
What you choose to do with what you have got – is now “your” PACE play.
Which brings me to my role in all this ?
Who am I again?
I… well I am part of your PACE future and I am waiting to introduce you to a world of “possibilities” – but only if you are “ready” – ready for more, ready for work, ready for difference, ready to discover YOU.
” come with me…
And you’ll see
A world of pure imagination…
So…Am I Willy Wonka ?
Quite possibly yes – in PACE.
Slightly scary , a little “drama mad” and a whole lot of “out of theatre worldness” – if you “get” the performance ticket that opens up the gates of this PACE creative factory.
All it takes is belief, that anything is possible , if you want it enough.
And even though there is quite literally a Charlie amongst you now – who knows …if you won’t be a “Charlie” and the golden PACE factory in the future.
All you can do is take what you have learned, shared, loved and experienced for this time round and put it first in your PACE life in 2014
Don’t bring just your “personality” back to the workshop, bring your performance potential because that is what really matters for us – in. PACE.
When I cast each and every one of you I had these simple questions in mind?
With the citizens: Will they perform ?
With the serf chorus: Will they act?
With the Deputes: Will they creatively support ?
With the Team Leaders: Will they inspire?
I hope you can now answer yes to all these questions. I hope you take this answer and put it back into your creative PACE work next term
I hope you shine brighter than ever before – so that I can see you blinking at me come any show time – like a satellite deep in space , orbiting our faberge PACE world – ready to transmit your performance message to a Wider PACE stage.
I thank you “all” from the bottom of my creative heart for your effort, commitment and passion to our beloved Russian Panto cause. Thank you for your MATRYOSHKA.
Our dreams for this panto …really did come true
May you enjoy your last few shows, take comfort from the “love” and “tears of joy” of others around you and when the curtain falls – as it will – for the final time – leave your Team Panto stage with your PACE head held “high” for all the world to see.
2014 is on the horizon – everything is waiting for “you” to make you feel – even better.
All my Panto love,