After Sebastian hung-up his rugby boots in the Spring, he continued to hound us that he wanted opportunities to act. During the October mid-term break Sebastian participated in two very short acting courses. One of the organisations invited Sebastian to try out for a stage show, Alice In Wonderland. After auditioning, Seb was cast as the Cheshire Cat. This requires Saturday afternoon rehearsals between now and early April 2014. Sebastian has to learn a lot of lines. This also requires sacrifices, we explained to Sebastian. Already Seb has missed one birthday party due to the commitment. But there seems to be great friendship growing amongst his cast members: last weekend they gave him a warm birthday welcome. Then we found out that he has been cast as one of the lead characters in the Year 7/8 school show. More lines to learn.
We keep telling Sebastian that if he wants to be an actor, the best place to hone his skills is on the live stage. (He would rather just audition for Spy Kids 25, or whatever number they're up to now.) Famous actors who started in theatre include Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow, Natalie Portman, Kenneth Branagh, Brad Pitt and Sean Connery to name a few. Is that Sebastian's future? Famous educationalists like Simon Breakspear and Yong Zhao would caution me about squashing creativity.
The point is that Sebastian had never seen a real, theatrical drama until tonight. Yes, he has seen a few lively productions such as the Nutcracker On Ice, but nothing like what we saw tonight. South Island School, an ESF secondary school, produced "Coram Boy" and tonight Sebastian and I hiked over to see the show. I suggested to Sebastian he should see it to "get a sense of the quality of production taking place in ESF secondary schools."
Wow, Coram Boy was fantastic and that was the word Sebastian used by the end. Considering the story, it was a bold production to undertake. Yes, it is a heavy, emotional drama. Yes, it has mature subject matter (the ticket read "Parental Guidance, Age 12+" so last week Seb couldn't have attended!) Yes, the plot has plenty of twists and turns. And YES (!) SIS did an outstanding job bringing all this to life on stage and really inspired Sebastian to see what's possible in secondary school live theatre. The acting was extraordinary, especially considering the age range of the cast that was probably represented all the way from Year 7 to Year 13. Professionally and technically, it was expertly flawless with lights, mikes and staging working together seamlessly. I am so glad we went and grateful to see such a terrific performance. Now we just have to make sure we don't softly or harshly kill the creativity that seems to be budding within Sebastian.