A Performance That Brings You To Tears

, , , , , | Learning | November 20, 2017

(We are rehearsing for a performance of the play “Oz.” As a middle school, the acting is about what you would expect. I am a tech, sitting in the audience. [Student] is playing The Wicked Witch of the West.)

Teacher: “You aren’t scary enough, [Student]! When you come onstage I want tiny children crying!”

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Gladiatorial Combat Is Kosher

, , , , , | Learning | September 26, 2017

(I am in an upper-division theatre history class that is primarily for drama majors, no first-year students. One of the professor’s favorite sayings is, “The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.” On this day he is lecturing about popular Roman entertainments: gladiator vs. gladiator, gladiator vs. lion, lion vs. Christian, and so on. One student raises her hand.)

Student: “Were the Romans still mostly Jewish at this point?”

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The Stage Is Set For Some Comeuppance

, , , | Learning | September 6, 2017

(I am in drama class. We are doing coursework where we need to design a stage for a random play we pick out of a hat. We are free to do whatever we like, as long as we justify our choices in the written portion, the minimum requirement of which is 300 words. My play is usually set against an audience on all sides, and our teacher has always stressed that all of the set pieces are to be in the middle so everyone can see. I’ve never followed this logic, as I find it difficult to imagine how an actor is meant to use the props without preferring a particular side of the stage. The only way around it that I can see is that they present themselves to each one at a time, which doesn’t work for me with timing. I design my stage differently in that the unused props are disguised as something else, or that props can be reused, to maximise on space, and that the centre of the stage is primarily for the actors. When I submit my work, I am expecting a lecture from my teacher, but I end up also failing. I ask my teacher about it.)

Teacher: “I have told you all, time and time again, how to correctly design a stage. Your design not only broke with convention, it also made absolutely no sense!”

Me: “But you said we could do whatever, as long as we explain it.”

Teacher: “Within reason, [Name]! I couldn’t imagine trying to explain your design.”

Me: “You don’t have to. I wrote nearly 2000 words explaining it.”

Teacher: “Yes, that, too. The count is 300!”

Me: “You said there was no limit.”

Teacher: “’Within reason.’ I couldn’t even get past the title!”

(So, essentially, my teacher looked at my design, didn’t like it, and saw the write up as too long, so she just failed me. It ended up biting her in the butt though, as my coursework was selected to be independently graded by the exam board, and the examiner took a considerably different attitude towards it. It lead to my entire class having their work sent away, and everyone got a grade increase, as my teacher was seen as both too strict and holding her opinion in too high regard. I dropped the course when I moved on to A-Level to avoid her, but I’m hoping to take it up again when I go to university.)

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Not Putting Their Soul Into It

| Learning | September 10, 2014

(My drama class is doing improv exercises.)

Teacher: “Okay, so imagine you’re making an energy ball. Imagine its size, weight, and what it’s made of. Be creative. [Student #1], what’s your ball made of?”

Student #1: “Bubblegum.”

Teacher: “What about you, [Student #2]?”

Student #2: “Music.”

Teacher: “And you, [My Name]?”

Me: *hoarse voice* “THE SOULS OF MY ENEMIES.”

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How To Pass Your OWLS

| Learning | July 18, 2013

(I am helping with a drama class of 5th graders. They are brainstorming ideas for a skit.)

Kid #1: “We could do something… like… Harry Potter?”

Teacher: “Okay, I’ll write that down.”

Kid #2: “Hey, [teacher’s assistant], you look like Draco Malfoy!”

(The kids laugh.)

Teacher’s Assistant: “MY FATHER WILL HEAR ABOUT THIS!”

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