Old Dog, New Tricks

07 Mar

I passed my first two modules! Great relief. 

I was pretty confident about the Dramatic Structure essay having chosen to write Director’s Notes for my grand idea of a mixed-media-outdoor-promenade production of Romeo & Juliet which has been floating around my brain for over a decade and was therefore a dream to write. The tutor appeared to like it:

This is a wonderful and passionate interpretation of a play that, because of it’s fame, could have been very difficult to make feel fresh. You have succeeded brilliantly… You express the play’s complexity in a way that brings the drama to life with a real clarity…  It is also very well written. It grabs the imagination of the reader as well as being informative… Excellent work.

I have however been horribly hung-up and worried about the Theatre & Radio module. Having got off to the worst imaginable start last term where the tutor rubbished my fledgling idea in front of my brand new class-mates deeming it:

‘clichéd, old hat, awful like Britain’s Got Talent’ and ‘when did you last go to the theatre?’.

I was mortified, devastated and spent the rest of the day trying to keep my wobbly bottom lip under control before I got into my car and cried my soft little heart out.

She very obviously did not like my idea of a violent homeless lad who can only express himself through rap – she even said ‘I would love to see the faces in a theatre when you turn up with some rap lyrics’ and laughed her head off. I’d also mentioned nightmares expressed through shadow-theatre street-dance and the faceless members of society such as cops, social workers, employers etc wearing white masks.

 Anyway, it was the only idea I had and she told me to turn it into a three-hander set in his granny’s living room.

I tried.

I tried for three weeks to write what she wanted and couldn’t. It was a nightmare, my characters didn’t want to be confined they wanted to be violent and loud and expressive through rap and dance. So I finally got another idea and emailed asking if I could write that and she said: ‘no, write from your heart’. So I wrote my rap and physical theatre piece – the first 35 pages anyway and submitted it.

The feedback I got from my peers was astonishing, they loved it. The tutor? Well, she came to me last and she made a public apology saying that she had underestimated my talent.

By then the damage had been done and I didn’t really want to write anymore of my clichéd, old hat idea, even with the apology.

Then I smashed up my ankle and couldn’t write even if I wanted to. The painkillers didn’t make me all floaty and brilliantly creative they zonked me out and turned my poor brain to mush. I was given an extension but finishing that play was truly the worst writing experience I have ever had. I had to stop deleting my words so that I would have something to submit.

I never finished the play but I submitted it and I passed.

I properly dobbed her in it last week telling the course director what had she’d said and how she had made us all go and watch a rehearsal of a children’s play she had written instead of teach us about sub-text on one of our workshop days. The director was horrified and thanked me profusely for letting her know.

Felt much better after that.


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Posted by on March 7, 2012 in Back To Uni


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