Pinky's Book Link

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Standing on the Edge of Glory!

I’d spotted her over the years, wild-haired and rambunctious, running after the boys in the shelter shed at school during lunchtime. 

Sometimes, a teacher on duty would catch her, red-handed and rebelliously disturbing the plovers at the back of the oval with her woolly compatriots and then I'd see her, in consequence, sitting in the office waiting for a reprimand from the deputy principal. 

A diminutive but spirited tomboy she’d smart talk me when I spoke to her in the playground and I’d have to hide my smile when I scolded her on her manners. In short, she was more than a handful.

I just knew I had to have her in my class when she reached grade four.

Her name is ‘Billy’ and her reputation as a tough customer preceded her. Why did I want her in my class knowing the hard work she’d prove to be?

Because she has the spark, that’s why. The spark I’ve seen in many kids over the last twenty years of teaching drama and directing plays and musicals.

Hell… I wrote my honours thesis on the benefits of teaching drama in the primary school. In my fifteen thousand words I extolled the merits of using drama as a vehicle to draw out the fearful child, provide an outlet for the extravert… the class clown, and enable kids to express themselves in an exceptional manner. I interviewed teachers and railed against the over accentuation of the importance of physical education… all at great, yawning length befitting a nerdy, non-sporting drama teacher. 

Wasn’t it appropriate I ‘walk the talk’ then?

Despite being as sharp as the razor I cut my legs with in the shower this morning, Billy isn’t a great reader due to her proclivity for determined disruption in the classroom rather than application to more tedious tasks. But that doesn’t matter a fig when you get to memorise your lines, does it?

I dangled the alluring carrot in front of her late last term.

“Actors need to have self-discipline,” I expounded to my class of twenty-six saucer-eyed wannabes.

“I can’t have naughty children in our term three Eisteddfod play can I? Only students who display self-control and team skills will be allowed to be in the play!”

Little Billy sat nodding in complicity, crossing her fingers and toes she’d be able to control her over-exuberant spontaneity until the casting call, this week.

She made it… just.

It’s a silly play (reflecting Pinky’s idiotic sense of humour) about a little tomboy who accidentally ends up in a land dominated by bananas and munchkins and we had our first rehearsal today.

The tiny but vocally enthusiastic Billy, was everything I knew she’d be. Confidence oozed from her pores; strident (for once in her life in a positive way), energetic and authentic, she nailed it completely.

Naturally, she’s landed the starring role.

I’m really hoping this year changes Billy's life.