Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

No soft options.

Oh great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art & perfect our lives ~ Jim Morrison.

We were coming home the other night in a boat crowded with friends & acquaintances ~ which is not the optimum way to socialise but the way I do it more often than not.  So we socialised & I got to hear all about everything  which is more than I usually hear because I am never here & even when I am I tend to hide away at home.  Yes, I am anti~social.  It's not that I don't like people it's just I find it all rather exhausting & we do enough of it in other areas.

So instead of leaning my head against the window & catching a quick between islands nap I listened to my friends gripe about the high school their children attend.  Now their oldest girl is a friend of Star's, a little younger but a friend, & together they did drama on the island with the lovely Mia & enjoyed themselves immensely though in the end Star, who has been trained under Alison, was gripping about the lack of professionalism & I happily arranged for us to be otherwise busy because I felt that the drama was a waste of time, time that invariably is in short supply.  Most of the kids were so stage shy they either couldn't or wouldn't perform & as that is the whole point...!!!

So Star's friend was looking forward to high school & the opportunity to do drama as one of her option subjects & the chance to perform properly on stage.  Um, what is it with our schools?  Drama, along with music & to a lesser degree, sport is seen as a *soft option* for the academically less gifted.  This flummoxes me.  Is it sheer ignorance?  I do not know of any group of people who work harder for less reward than people in the arts.  Seriously.  I don't know too many adults who could stand silently for an hour or more while technicians run sound & light checks.  They cat nap in the Green Room when they can because they are forced to keep peculiar hours.  They eat odd meals at odder times depending on call times & however grotty they may feel themselves they are asked to give of themselves without stint performance after performance.

So Star's friend, to her bitter disappointment, found that Mia's little island drama group was actually better value than the school's.  Star was horrified.  I bit my tongue.  It's not that I was so very wise.  We pretty much fell into AVAE thanks to the Lord's leading & my complete & utter ignorance but I am so grateful for the Lord's leading on this.  There is no room for divas in the performance industry.  I have watched with growing appreciation as Star has been groomed to work in this industry ~ & the singing is the least of it, I can assure you.  The children are drilled in performance etiquette: the conductor is *Maestro* [& don't giggle]; water bottle, music & pencil only!; never, ever admit, no matter what you do to cover it up, that you have forgotten your words;  arrive made up, warmed up & with your wardrobe in immaculate condition; do not chatter backstage ~ the mikes pick up every little sound.  They are taught how to walk on stage, take a default position & stand absolutely still ~ & it is only when I have the rare opportunity to watch other choirs I can appreciate what a difference this makes to the overall presentation.  It is not about grooming *stars* & pandering to egos.  It is about ensuring these children can find work as working musicians in a notoriously difficult industry.  It is about ensuring they know the dangers & how to avoid them.  It is about ensuring they don't come to this industry with stars in their eyes & inflated expectations.  Mostly it is about discipline; self discipline.

Now Star is a drama queen extraordinaire ~ but she saves it for home & the indulgence of a loving mummy. She knows there is a certain leeway in rehearsals for a joke & a bit of fun ~ & she knows when to stop & be professional.  Do you know how many professionals don't want to work with kids?  Do you know why all the starry~eyed kids who are talented & gifted, often way more so than my Star, won't get the same sort of opportunities?  Because Star has been trained as a professional & her friends have been shunted off to a *soft option* that no~one takes very seriously.  It makes me sad.  We so need our artists & the view they have of the world.  We need the colour, the pantomime, the drama.  We need to be reminded that life is more than the work we do, the food we eat, the clothes we wear.  Life is spirit & soul dancing amongst the stars; it is the song in our blood & the sun in our eyes.  It is a dazzle & a wonder.  It costs something to create that vision & there are no soft options.


loving, laughing and learning said...

you'd love ken robinson's speeches, do google him (his also a brillant speaker). we've already moved on from our mainland drama group, well when a 5 year has memorised everyone's lines in a term what do you do lol.

Ganeida said...

I do love Ken Robinson's speeches ~ & I agree with him! lol There will be the right group for your Star also. I bet she just loved her drama. ♥

Joyfulmum said...

My dd loved our local drama group run by homeschoolers but alas the teacher can no longer run them, but i think dance is fulfilling her inner artist atm:)
great points here about high school and the arts!

Jeanne said...

Oh, imagine a world without the Arts. On second thoughts, don't - it doesn't bear thinking about.

So glad that Star is getting professional training. Hope I hear her perform live one day.

Diane Shiffer said...

Thank God that Star is getting the kind of training she needs to do the work that she loves (and is so gifted at). I never really thought of all this.. we are a houseful of hermits, and that is the truth no matter how vigorously we might pretend to be otherwise. But as hermits, we do especially enjoy the work of others in the arts. I can't imagine what drives someone to want to perform, but I can appreciate that they do and certainly can appreciate the work that goes into the doing♥

I loved this part of your post.. "We need to be reminded that life is more than the work we do, the food we eat, the clothes we wear. Life is spirit & soul dancing amongst the stars; it is the song in our blood & the sun in our eyes. It is a dazzle & a wonder. It costs something to create that vision & there are no soft options."
Amen sistah.

Ganeida said...

Joyfulmum: I have children all over the spectrum & watching my Liddy try to appreciate what Star enjoys is one of the greatest amusements of my life. She does not get it. She will never get it ~ but she tries. Some people don't even try. *sigh*

Jeanne:What a terrible thing to imagine! ABC is making a doco of the Gothic as well as filming the performance [only time performed outside Britain, 1st performance in 30 years]. When I have details I will post them. Not live but should be interesting as very few people involved are full~time professionals.

Diane: Personally I think everyone should do a little drama. It gives shy people that little bit of aplomb & panache to cope. I am reading but not getting to comment everywhere just now. ♥

Pen Wilcock said...

'Yes!' to all of this, Ganeida :0)
I also raised my children (all musicians)to understand that every member of the audience is a performer in the concert bearing equal responsibility for its success. In listening attentively, in applause, in not chatting with our neigbour, in giving the full focus of our spirit, we also offer something to the corporate work.
My husband (a musician) said that playing in an orchestra or singing in a choir is immensely character-building as it asks us to listen to each other and work co-operatively. x

Ganeida said...

Ember: Your husband is smart. Choir has given Star more discipline than a much loved youngest child would normally get [no, I'm not a good disciplinarian]. There is so much else that could be said about the whole arena of performance ~ for which I don't have either the time or the head space at present but I so appreciate the points you have raised.

seekingmyLord said...

It is sad, Ganeida. Some children will never develop their talents fully because they are not guided well and do not have that special "it" in you know what "it" is when someone has "it" and when someone does not.

You well know that my daughter has had "it" from the start. She started with a gift for having stage presence. Even when she messes up her piano, she does so with that certain look of "I intended to do it just that way" and rarely are people the wiser. Of course, as she gets a bit older, she has become more self-conscious and then she relies on the foundation her teacher and I--I being taught by my aunt--have coached her in how to be a true performer.

The talent and desire gets you on the stage...but it is in presentation that makes one a true Star.

Ganeida said...

Seeking: the ability to cover up well is probably the most important one of all.Star's done whole classes on improvisation & when I was doing drama a lot of focus went on that too. Whatever stuff~ups happen nothing must stop. The audience should ever know. I often know when AVAE has had a hiccup in performance because I sit in on rehearsals but people in the audience only rarely know & invariably they are people who know the work well musically. And this is not a talent many have naturally ~though it can be learned. ☺