So… the day after tomorrow we go onstage.
The School Play, I mean. In theory, we should be doing last-minute tweaks, fine-tuning… In theory all should be well and as good as ready. In theory it should be time of a tech rehearsal, dress rehearsal, and then curtain-up…
Except, well – you know… theatre.
So yesterday we went through the whole thing twice. And the first time was a mostly correct affair, with most things in place, a very few smudges – and none of them too awful. And a most appalling lack of conviction and rhythm.
Marcello and I said so during the post-mortem, and the students seemed (mostly) to take it at heart: we began again, and the rhythm was there. And stayed there until about a third of the way – and then it all caved in. There were extempore cuts, whispered discussion of the extempore cut onstage, fits of the giggles, stepping on other people’s veils, unprecedented and new memory holes…
And then there was a row – most of it my fault. I confess: I lost my temper with the Course Pest – which I shouldn’t have and I wish I hadn’t, but I was sorely provoked. Well, I’m not a patient woman to begin with – but really… an adult never owning her mistakes, and constantly grousing at others; noisily angling for praise when it’s not deserved, and pointing out any minor mistake by anyone else; spending inordinate amounts of time and breath to explain in excruciating detail why it was not her fault that she botched her speech/blocking/exit; arguing against any and every remark; playing the victim; proclaiming to high heaven that she doesn’t accept this or that…
So yes – I lost my temper, and told her, rather sharply, that this is theatre – not a democracy: whatever the director (or assistant director, for that matter) and teacher says, you take, and think through, and try to act upon! And it was, in the end, perfectly useless, because all I obtained was for the Pest to take a half-tragic air of offended dignity and unappreciated virtue – and a headache for myself.
Well, afterwards the other students came in twos and threes to say that they love me, and they’ll bring me cakes and oranges when I’m in jail for resorting to drastic measures… And Duccio (the Company’s leading man) said he had the vaguest suspicion that I’m just about fed up with the woman, and Marcello pointed out that, with that sort of people, it’s never worth while.
And he’s right, and I shouldn’t have lost my temper. And tonight… ah, tonight I’ll be unflappable. Perfectly composed. The very image of bland and sweet calm. Quite zen. Serene and steady. Unruffled. Utterly, utterly placid.
It’s just until Sunday, after all. How hard can it be?