There are moments in every journey where the path dispapears before us.
We often look back at the start and struggle to remember how excited we felt.
The elusive thought of that amazing final show is the reason for starting , for us all. But is it ?
Each time a group of you come together for a project, I hope it will be different. I hope that something changes within the space , to affect the outcome of the bigger PACE picture.
It starts so well doenst it ? Each one of you eager to prove yourself ; and so we go for a week or two , with this fresh energy, this marvelous want in the air…it all seems like such a perfect existence.
Then something shifts, imperceptibly, but shifts,
The room becomes familiar, too familiar, to just try as hard.
The rehearsal swiftly moves into second place.
The process disappears from view
And taking first drama place comes the “you”.
The director struggles. The pace slows down , drags everything down , the tone becomes sharp and frustrated and a sudden pause eventually , more emotionally , occurs .
The subtext in that moment emerges … It has to …it would not be truthful not to explain how one feels.
Any play is a challenge. Even the ones that don’t look that hard.
It’s all about having certain standards. Life is eventually all about the standards we set for ourselves .
In school we are encouraged to attain good grades.
No! ” top ” grades – and most will push themselves beyond mere studious effort – to attain them
9 A passes is better than 5 A’s, 3 B’s and a C
5 A’s at Higher is really an excellent academic achievement
An Advanced Higher – A pass of any kind – is …surely outstanding.
And I like to think that any show I do, is like taking “an advanced higher course ”
…why not ?
If we are to be the best in terms of our dramatic achievement at a SPACE level then…how is it possibly any different ?
The confusion will perhaps set in , when some try to equate the content of a school advanced higher , in say Physics , with any sort of metaphorical ‘theatrical’ advanced higher within PACE
And I’m not talking about an actual school “drama” advanced higher – school drama and pace drama are very different. And as a (one time) qualified high school drama teacher – I know the exact difference.
We at this level of PACE , assuming the mantle of advanced work, are different only in one thing – the inherent nature of the work needed for the subject
Exams in English, Maths , History , French , Modern Studies are about the superior knowledge and understanding of a specific field of enquiry, which highlights Intelligence and acquired ability in the discerning and practical application of academic information.
A SPACE related play is about the artistic “superior” knowledge and understanding of a “theatrical experience” designed to platform greatness through innate ability, highlighted in any casting process.
To make it easier still:
You will know what subject classes you are in currently at school(what level therein )for sound academic reasons.
You know that with harder work , a better attitude , supported study , sacrifice and effort …you could potentially achieve more currently from your school career.
(If you didn’t try to fit in with the ” group ” as much , or sidetrack yourself with trivial issues that won’t even matter in a couple of years time.)
Why ? Your teachers tell you so. You may not like them , but you listen or if you don’t…you are dealt with.
Why then is it different for any PACE project at an advanced level ?
Why assume it should not be the same ?
Is it because …what you believe that what you achieve here doesn’t “really” matter?
That drama doesn’t matter , that Its a hobby you kid yourself means more ?
You are wrong. It matters , everything matters.
This advanced work in PACE will help you to grow as a well rounded person.
It will help you study better
It will increase your intelligence
It will open up more academic choices for you in Further Education
It will help you get into University and Colleges you wouldn’t maybe have considered before
It will make you think broader about your potential to change your current world
It will affect you for good
It will teach you not to follow the crowd
It will give you that help up the global ladder you are going to need when you leave school
It will prepare you for the next crowd to avoid, the next scene , the next temptation, the next excuse to give up on you.
It’s not about pretending you want to act – you don’t, not really and “not to tread on your dreams here” – you won’t.
Actors are born “acting” , they don’t let anything stand in the way of them and their vocation. Those few “others” sometimes “created” here in PACE , rarely, rarely make it without a massive change of heart, or better still – really really good luck : Right time , right place , right face.
It’s so, so much more here in S(PACE) , about making you “act” better “on your future”. Act on your talent for a better life.
To use Drama and Performance as a channel for your own sense of creativity – to enhance , bolster , inspire what comes next for you.
Any PACE advanced project is a gifted experience to be worked for , to be dedicatedly focused on and actively committed to for that “higher” purpose.
Turning up for rehearsal is not enough , not good enough , not nearly the required standard I expect of you.
Any SPACE project needs an “Advanced Higher Mentality” and as your teacher I must ensure you are working at the top of your game for every part , every section , every moment of it.
If not, then , as in school, another course may be suggested to help you address what is missing from your final answers to the basic PACE question
“Explain in truthful words – Why I am here ?”
The standard set for National Theatre Connections In PACE is higher still…can that even be possible ?
In my eyes…yes.
In the eyes of this year’s 2015 cast ….I still don’t know ?
There have been 2 plays before, at this advanced level , as dramatic “past papers” we can learn from.
There have been 2 casts before who went beyond the A … To model ourselves on.
Maybe I am wearing rose tinted glasses here , but I don’t remember feeling as nervous this year , at this point , as I did before , as unsure about the ” group “.
Looking back at the past I think of the 1st time we journeyed – with the most Inspiring collective , as part of The Guffin . The ones who didn’t know what they were doing , had never done before , but who poured themselves in to every corner of doubt that seeped in through the hairline Perfomance cracks and sealed themselves up in a creative box so tight that nothing or no one could get into their head space.
This passionate and very private committment led them to the South Bank in London and the UK National Theatre stage.
They met Howard Brenton , one of Britains most prolific and sought after playwrights , he laughed with them at the after show party in the Shed , he wanted to be near them , to be photographed with them , to connect to their untamed energy in the way they brought his words to life – he rated them and that is something amazing , something truly unbelievable in the hugeness of his presence in theatre history.
I wish more than anything you understood what a huge deal that was.
The second, learned by practising the way of the first. They were younger , hungry for the experience. Like children they ran at it , made mistakes , fell over , got up , fell over and finally jumped massive hang up hurdles to win through in the end
They didn’t make it to London ..it was never going to be on the cards so soon after last year …but strangely that didn’t matter. They found something else – Identity , a better place in the more creative side of PACE. For them this was success enough.
And it was hard to let their paddock go, to gradually loose their new found “Heritage” amidst the more sheepish scene that would inevitably follow.
As it does , in any “schooled” set up.
They hung on as long as they could with not much else around to keep the passion alive.
This year…comes Remote – will they finish third ? It’s all really down to them now.
I’ve started to worry recently that this play course might be a bit “beyond” them at this moment; and here’s why …
any advanced work needs that extra committment , any NTC work needs “gravitas”.
The students here , are each to their own, all a bit random in their approach. Good days , bad days …effort , no effort , belief , no belief , want …no want, bothered , not bothered and maybe worse of all…a whole lot of “whatever”.
Of course they could blame the play: it’s not as gritty or ” dramatic” as last year’s and doesn’t have the seeming acting clout of GUFFIN. It’s long and fragmented and rises and falls like the autumn leaves that seem to clog up and get in the way of their more purposeful stage
They could even ‘easily’ blame the director: she’s off the wall in her approaches, she turns things around and plays them back to front all the time, she doesn’t play by the rule book , she’s not doing what she is supposed to do? I mean she wastes time , bends time , over runs and interrupts the flow with her tangent direction …she lectures repeatedly and she makes you do things that don’t seem connected to the text at all. She is demanding , too demanding when all you want to do is lie around and chat. She is hard work…such long clock watching tiresome effort … she is like the play ..a nightmare to get out of ..
If only they could see it from my side.
This play has more drama emotion than Heritage , you just have to see beyond the obvious . This play has more theatre moments than Guffin becuse in every line there is a subtextual paradise
This play is the best out of the 3 so far , for the very way you are as younger actors, the way you are currently made and the way we all think of the world about us
It is classic Theatre in Education , as PACE is a classic “theatre in education” company
This play was made for PACE.
The director of this play is the Artistic Director , the one who helped build and shape it’s youthful destiny surely no one better for the job ? What ever way she chooses to play with it!
When a cast has no trust in the play or the director – time only for two things to happen.
Change the cast
Change the director
The latter is not an option , I have earned the right to do this, I am working flat out for this play , I am its greatest champion , I believe in it beyond a shadow of a doubt …I want to shout it proudly to the world.
Change the cast then ? Problematic.
The cast as a whole are currently not on my level with this , not up to our standard and maybe viewed more publically here in this blog forum, will be forced to address the inherent problems that are in the way of them and succeeding in their present course of action.
A play about APATHY with currently a largely apathetic cast – what a dramatic irony.
How tragic even, when with a youthful , truthful change in their cast wind , it could be so different.
But when all is said and done …who will actually read this , …who ever does ?
Who will bother , who will care …who will have the will to change here.
I might as well go climb a tree.
It’s easier to settle for less , easier to let your thumb do the talking , snap a picture or two , mock the intention ,laugh behind closed doors, hang out in the corridors , pretend you get it for the strange woman in the black room , nod your head like a good little dog and go about your friendly other business. Isn’t this a drama youth club ?
The wind suddenly goes very cold.
And from her tree top away from eye level, she sighs and mutters
“Easier still to pull the play…”