As we move to pre Christmas week in Panto-land, let’s take stock of what has come to ” so-far ” pass?
Occasionally dropping in to your Panto social chat rooms – I can see there is a lot of ” love you people ” going on , that and , ” I like Tumblir , shabby chic , blue , chocolate , knitted socks , but anything really ….”
But little chat about the shows themselves ? or your progress as teams?
So I took myself to the lion’s mouth to find out what comes of this , from all the rehearsals , all the notes and assurances that were given , way back in November …when we were way up our snowy rehearsal mountain , giving it lalldeee ….
I suspect the Lalldeee” has changed , but has it changed for good or just because you think it’s easy now to do Panto and to do it well ?
I have to say the team leaders and deps themselves are a bit absent in their team group chats , and whether they are saving it for the room is anyone’s guess ?
Maybe the old cliche of ” I’ve not got time…. ” is being bandied around a lot by people ; what with other things on in the run up to Christmas…
Pity really , because it starts with “the top” in anything.
Make the right impression , set the right standards to follow , adopt rules that stick for good and a better group mindset will follow.
Anyone who eventually works with me “long term” will know I have a line that we don’t ever drama cross.
You are either with me on what I ask you to do or a conversation eventually takes place between us , that poses the question – is it worth while you remaining?
So to in any project undertaken with me . Even though I may have left a show that I initially directed , I would hope you are still thinking on my level , acting with my direction in mind?
Are you still ” worthwhile ” and “noteworthy” in this Panto cast ?
Or have have you moved the stage “second in importance ” and team chat “first” ?
“Is she serious ?”
Yes …I think I am …at least when it comes to keeping Panto standards high.
” but it’s Christmas!”
A second thought ….
Yes …and all the more reason to try harder.
Time is running out quicker than you know , to get the most of this Panto experience , more than a nice secret Santa present and a new friend or two.
Next year is round the corner , next year could be very different for you , with a litlle extra Christmas effort on stage.
Maybe some had a taster on Sunday , a refreshing sip , a sample of something different , “showing you something new” to bite into …
We all enjoy Christmas nibbles. The sweet things , the savoury , the mixed bag of nuts …so why not feast ?
Spires Theatre work is like that:
Workshops that make us feel all happy and good inside , Projects that have cutting edge
Show experiences that are so unpredictable in their design, that they leave us shaken and stirred …Bonded in style.
But to get your drama hands on those performance goodies , you have to show me something new…
Something better in your work ethic , the “Tesco extra” in your bag of current stage tricks , the resisting the temptation to take your foot off the pedal , when others around you are telling you , by their de-accelerated action , to do the same.
I know it’s s long run and boredom can be a factor – same old same old …what can seem an endless circle of seen it , done it…if you are not in the ” right ” performance mindset.
Because if you are “cut “from different drama cloth , you will always see the stage as an exciting “play”ground for even the shortest time you are on it .
The dressing room really is just the boring bit , the waiting room , the inevitable queue you have to stand in to get to what you want at the other end.
Before you say it …I know it’s nice to just see people in a new light , good to talk and share hugs and smiles each time you come together – I’m not saying that’s not part of it – but is it doing anything to make your combined team shows better if the practical stage passion is maybe not the same ?
We are well over half-way now and here’s a radical suggestion: why not make a new team show ?
” is she serious ? ”
Didn’t I say I am always serious about Panto ?
” how do we do that ? ”
Think of the end of the run and start going back to the beginning , remembering what you actually learned about working better together.
I have to say , Rachel is happy with geneal team energy and some individual progress.
Shows can vary in momentum , but average round 5+ and 7 – a few 10’s ( have you all just given up on that dream number ? )
10 is the mark of extra team direction , extra effort , extra sparkle away !
Here’s 10 things I hate about what can sometimes can happen when I leave a show project, if teams forget their professionalism.
1 Things become social
2 Things become sloppy
3 Things become an utter state of panic or chaos stage backstage
4 Things become about silly bickering between people over stupid things
5 Things become messy in dress , hair , make up and appearamce
6 Things become lax in peronal attitude towards the project
7 Things become about what the other teams are getting and what you’re not?
8 Things become about meeting one another in the cross over and making that the really fun part
9 Things become about watching the actors on stage and not about watching the audience
10 Things become about a group of “tweens and teens” doing a “wee Christmas show in their local arts centre ” and not about the best Youth Theatre in Scotland showing how to really do a professional performance!
In one of the above is perhaps the answer to why it may be going wrong for you and your team , if you think you’ve currently hit a bit of a slump…
Better , but have you lost the slight edge you once had ? Come on , let’s “show” them
Coming through but still a future way to go ? Act the Act …don’t just talk the talk of “acting” on things.
Breaking new ground , but what can you do with it ? What different stage can you get to from here ?
Sadly lagging behind , and I think whatever has happened to you can only be fixed by a “completely” better stage endeavour. It would be a pity not to carry some of you on with us , next term , because you can’t get your ” act ” together – wouldn’t it ?
Turnarounds can dramatically happen in a moment if the spirit is willing to pull together and team 3 try.
Pauline and Rachel both agree things can be unpredictable more than they can be reliably professional – across all the teams.
Don’t think because I’m not around , I don’t know what is going on , don’t assume your “safe” in any drama project because runs start well and are now almost over.
In recent ViVE VOCE ( one on one chats ) with the FIREFLY 16 module students , much came to light about how things for them have “got in the way” of better performance and it took some honest straight-talk to reach the conclusion that ” extra ” effort is always needed at any stage of this PACE game – ” extra ” attention to personal detail .
If as many of you seem to think , the way “up ” in PACE , is the “only” way for you ; then understand you don’t always have to like what you hear me telling you , but you have to act on it, regardless.
You’ll never get better until you do “the extra stuff” around any performance and for many Panto , that’s in the list above .
For Voyage candidates , it’s a continual effort to stand out from the crowd in good ways , convincingly.
A willingness to cut loose from the rest of the peer “drama pack” and go your own sweet way .
I want these “written assessments” to to be seen less
like ” school project assignments ” and more like an interesting , entertaining , quirky take, on your Panto adventure this year – please don’t tell me stuff I know , tell me or show me stuff I don’t know – that way I’m liable to look at them and you ” differently ” – which is the better way into Odyssey and potentially VX1.
If your current performance is going round and round and round a loop , you need to realise that ” culture , the arts , opening your eyes to the world around you ” is the only way you’ll give more depth to your stage work .
Resist it as long as you want – fight me on it with silence or indifference and apathy – but …I’ll need you to get it , in the end – or we won’t , we can’t spark . Any director needs material to work with, if you come with nothing , what can we creatively make together ?
The Christmas Radio Times may be lying round your house at the festive moment ? – if not ask a parent to get you it . ( see pic above for ref)
There are loads and loads of better programme listings on all TV and radio channels over Christmas – BBC2/3/4 included
Don’t neglect the ” boring ” channels – that are not cool to watch – they have all the ” cool ” drama that matters here .
Radio is great to gave on in the background , not Clyde or Heart or Capital or Radio 1 – but Radio 2/3/4 as well as they feature brilliant comedy , plays and documentary style dramas that train you to listen better
And we all need to listen , to act better on stage .
Just scan the radio times and see if any play or drama or programme catches your eye and stick it on as you study ( or veg in your room ! )
A little different stuff , now and again , makes a big difference in no time
I listened to a superb programme on the Radio last week BBC3 – ( Saturday’s around lunch ) called “Sounds of Cinema” , with Mathew Sweet . It was all about Swedish Cinema ( next year’s first culture club topic ) and this week is apparently all about ” Star Wars ” . He has a great voice , really engages your ear and the music and background is really interesting and ” different ”
Everything is relevant if you just open your eyes and ears to a better picture and sound
This will not be easy for some to do , I know you are not ready , but remember this :
Face down constantly in iPhones or devices , is only ever going to make you robotic and predictive in your performance , always scrolling through copied stage images , refreshed only by an occasional ping of warning about the bland drama future you are making !
As Taylor says ” shake it off ”
Get the Christmas Radio Times , scan it , and aim to watch at least 5 new for you varied programmes – a new comedy drama , a new BBC / ITV serous drama , a better film that doesn’t involve teen drama or fast cars , a documentary , a random sky arts programme or arts related on any other channel ( not dance moms !!!! Or X factor / Voice singing related )
If your feeling inspired or even “edgy” – watch an indie film , a foreign drama , something maybe parents have recommended that you haven’t watched because you thought ” I won’t like that ” .
If I have time I’ll post some suggestions.
But if not in Team 1 – ask Katie Maclean – a Cinderella PACE story – from drama rags last Panto to glittering theatre ball gown this festive season , as she steps out in fetching new cultured voice , showing creatively ingelligent depth as a budding stage writer , group commentator and general all round new star in Firefly !
It can be done if you want it badly enough , if you don’t use the excuse of ” if I have time ” – make time – time is , after all – Relative !
Girls like Katie M , go far , because they get , that extra effort isn’t a chore , isn’t actually as boring as others think but a great new lifestyle choice .
In Team 2 speak to Erin , she’s now clued in and culturally open minded , she may have suggestions to get your started…
In Team 3 – speak to Garth , he gets that it’s not pointless to watch stuff others don’t rate – he’s a mine of suggestions to dip into.
In team 4 – speak to Eleanor , as HD for VX1 her finger is well on the current PACE culture pulse , and if she can’t help , she’s mature enough to refer you to someone else for suggestions – both Abby and Eleanor are broad minded that way and very much want to work togehter not apart on this new set of Verona challenges – something different indeed.
So , the future of Panto is now up to you , the future for you after New Year is also up to you .
I can lead you to Artistic waters but sadly can’t make you drink – if you’re not really that thirsty…
There will always be something else for you , maybe not as rewarding long term as some Spires work , but certainly another way to go.
But before I go I have a litlle Christmas present for a couple of you this Festive time – I hope you get the message :
Based on your outstanding and highly creative presence in our hallowed Spires 1 theatre-space on Sunday , I have pleasure in inviting
Ben Boulton Jones to House of Capulet
Anna Boulton Jones to House of Montague
Morgan Grant to House of Capulet
I know this will mean the dramaworld to them to hear, especially as they continue to grow in our Panto arena.
So “Merry Drama Christmas” to you 3. Keep the higher stage standards you will need for VX1.
More to follow ?
Bien sur …
…but only with that “extra Christmas effort”