23 January 2007

Dear William Shakespeare (5)

So, the project I mentioned in my last letter has got underway: four weeks of workshops on Romeo & Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing. As feared, it really is too much, in two hours, to expect a Damascene revelation, a realisation on the part of the slouchingly assembled crew of 15-year-olds that, actually, you're great. No-one else has ever written for the stage this fluently, with this richness and this craft. Wow.

The students seem (for the most part) to enjoy themselves; they seem (for the most part) to leave feeling they've gained something. Perhaps a thing no greater than help with the exams, but something, nonetheless, to take home. Maybe this little bit of help will mean that, one day, they have that Damascene revelation. This is easy. After all that struggle, resistance, face-pinching, it's suddenly luminous, magnificent, clear. Wow.

I hope so. But I work in the theatre. I want to see the moment of revelation for myself - or at least have it reported back to me quickfast pace Chekhov or the Greeks. Otherwise, despite the absurd feedback forms showing that teachers tick consistently under "excellent", how do I know I'm doing any good?


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