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.