Holding on for a ticket

By | 7 November 1997

Published November 7, 1999
Monday: Punctuated with phone calls to bus and theatre. Right day? Time? Cost? Number of seats? Can I have four more? No chance. I’m lucky to have these, courtesy of a school party which cancelled at the last minute and the rest of the run is sold out. Every theatre in the land should provide Macbeth/ Ham-let/Lear/ Dream every year to cater for syllabus needs.
Spend the afternoon interviewing for Christmas vacancy. Fascinating but tiring; encouraging, too, given doomy newspaper stories about shortages in key areas.
Race down to theatre after school to collect tickets and save time when I have 30 Year 11s in tow later. Six-mile journey takes 50 minutes. Realise what ecologists mean about gridlock.
Return to theatre with party in time to see friendly fracas in foyer and bar food menu board advertising “merangs”. Blame an English teacher. For both, perhaps.
Pupils love Macbeth – Pete Postlethwaite, hot from The Usual Suspects and Romeo and Juliet – wears a red kilt down to his ankles, he looks like one of our 12-year-olds. “He even has the money belt and key ring, Miss!” Despite some odd tinkering with the text, production holds the attention of theatre full of youngsters, so must be good.
Tuesday: The BBC comes to film our art room. Seven BBC types – at least one smelling gently of lunchtime booze, how dare he? – dazzle our 14-year-olds. Or is it the seven boys we borrowed from our brother school, since the Beeb wanted a mixed group? Look out for us on Home Front.
Wednesday: The same 14-year-olds – sporty as well as arty – help us open the sports hall. The plaque is unveiled by the former Red Maid who played hockey for England in the last two Olympic Games.
She bridges the gap nicely between those who are down in the hall playing basketball, tennis, netball or hockey, and those of us in the gallery, at least three of us, complaining of frozen shoulders and all of us enjoying tea. Ironic to scoff cakes in the shadow of the weights machine.
Thursday: I over-sleep. Blame Monday’s late night, and here comes another: a modern languages evening, half of which I spend (impossibly) “shussing” off-stage in the midst of excited youngsters flaunting can-can frocks (those 14-year-olds again) or rehearsing in whispers before their big moment.
I eventually sneak into hall to watch polished parodies of Cilla Black and Patsy and Edwina in French, Russian, Spanish, German and Italian. Cringe for my own linguistic inadequacies.
Friday: The post brings bright news: last month I entered a Selfridges slogan competition and I’ve won five days in New York. So my French may be useless, but the English can’t be bad.

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