Stories on stage, stories on the page

We have gone all thespian over here. Trooper had her show (a school cabaret) two evenings this week and I thoroughly enjoyed sitting at a table, being served a dessert and watching her high kick her way through “Big Spender.” The drama teacher at our school is a visionary and what she has roped 120 kids into doing is something short of a miracle. I love school drama; and while the students always hate the drama teacher and complain that she shouts too much the end result always proves that the hard work and painful rehearsals were worth it. I am actually a trained drama teacher but I have chosen the classroom over the theatre. Still, I love Drama.

 

And on the Sound of Music front we are heading towards crunch time. The first of two dress rehearsals is this weekend and the big night is on Friday the 7th of May.  We are dealing with worries over Princess’s hair. She needs an Austrian/Swiss/Milkmaid sort of hair style that involves french braiding over the top and such things. I am not in any way capable of braiding. Make up I can do, hair I cannot not. So we are having a hairdresser do it. Handsome husband, who I have taken to calling CFO, is having a minor conniption over the whole thing. Still, once sets have been built, costumes sewn, washed and ironed, we can’t very well fall down on the hair front can we?

 

In other news, Miss Teacher is knee deep in marking at the moment and rather than being a horrendous drag, it is proving a real privilege. The assignment is a Biography of someone known and inspiring. I didn’t want 120 plagiarized wikipedia accounts of Obama or Beyonce so I stipulated that each biography must be the story of a life of someone the writer knows. The results are extraordinary. I have even had one or two parents approach me to say thank you for the experience that has allowed them to tell the story of their childhood for the first time. In many occasions it has bonded parents and grandparents with children in new ways. It has certainly got people talking and digging out old photos.

 

These biographies hold in their pages the stories of grandparents and parents and in many cases I am reading about people who walked 5 miles to school barefoot and rose out of their humble circumstances through intelligence and will to become leaders in government or industry. I have read about a man who is the longest residing British citizen here, he has lived here for 66 years having come at the end of World War 2. One story could be turned into a film! It is the tale of a Belgium mountain climber who came to the Congo, fell in love with a local girl, had a child with her and then had to leave when all the white people were expelled. 35 years later the father and son were reunited in Belgium. His grandson is in my class and in writing this biography has discovered not only the journey his grandfather took but pride in his family’s story. The passion and pride in these stories rises above the pages and each child, bar a few who never cared much for the project, has obviously found great joy in this project. I am sure the family members who were interviewed benefitted just as much in being able to tell their story and reflect upon their lives lived, thus far.

 

The funny side is that when I see parents I now know more about them then they know about me! At the play the other night I looked around the room and felt I had their stories tucked in my pocket. I  knew that the father sitting next to me was in a rock band and that the woman in front of me raised all her siblings after her parents were killed. The father to my left left India when he was two years old as his parents risked everything to start a new life in Uganda. Each person sat, faces raised towards those dancing and singing teens on stage.

 

Behind every face there are a hundred stories. I am now lucky to know a few of those stories and I am richer for it.


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3 Comments

Filed under Family Stuff, Miss Teacher

3 responses to “Stories on stage, stories on the page

  1. “Behind every face there are a hundred stories” – nothing could be more true. at the moment this is a driving inspiration for me, i am becoming obsessed with the idea of ‘ordinary stories’.

    I admire that you are a drama teacher – a world i would love to inhabit but am painfully too self conscious for – although I did an aerial performance to ‘big spender’ once – a wonderful gutsy song!!

  2. eddmah

    That is absolutely amazing. That is a really special assignment. That Belgian story is truly movie material. I wish you did this with us!

  3. angela ( jhscrapmom )

    i am reading “the settler’s cookbook” right now, and am wondering if the expulsion of the gentleman is the next chapter of the book. not his story in particular, but that time in history.

    a friend of mine’s father was an indian born and raised in uganda who ended up in britain…and he shared this book with me. it is a time and place i knew nothing about and now, between you and him, i have a whole new world to try and understand.

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