The play is happening in two weeks. The sets are tarnished and dusty, numerous parts of it unfinished. The actors are tripping and stumbling over their lines, the less fortunate would have rejoiced at having something whatsoever to stumble upon. Amidst the rising fatigue and the Arabian swelter, tempers are shortening and temperaments are turning belligerent. A few months ago, I would have banged my head repeatedly on the stage floor. Now, survival would be a plausible option.
The drama club was a product of my school’s attempt to invigorate its curriculum by encouraging various student clubs. When asked to be the Assistant Director, I was happy to oblige; there really was nowhere I would rather be.
Two months later, the school withdrew the time allocated for student clubs, after ascertaining that many students were misusing it. Meanwhile, the drama club had evolved surprisingly fast. Hence, I could not accept defeat. I stalked my administrator for weeks, feverishly producing argument after argument; I lurked outside his office, an indefatigable, yet terribly talkative shadow. After our repeated appeals, the administration agreed, on the condition that all our work was done after school hours.
There were about ten students working together on everything. We worked long hours, and in close proximity therefore clashes, differences of opinion and impatience were frequent. One afternoon we had gathered in the playground to paint our set, sleeves rolled up and paintbrushes held out like conductor’s batons, when Katie timidly suggested using blue. In the spirit of this newfound openness,John recommended yellow; apparently, the set needed a brighter colour. I was delighted at this newborn participation, and was eager to take everyone’s opinion into consideration. We eventually painted on a blue background with a multitude of coloured sea creatures over it, consequently inspiring the name for the café we were building, and instigating its “under the sea” theme.
This incident sparked a new tradition in the drama club – discussing every decision before implementing it. It was not forced and never awkward, but somehow just fell into place after the success of the first discussion. Many similar situations taught us that sometimes, a compilation of different ideas yield better results than anything a lone person could up with - one can never know who could have a better idea or an entirely different way of understanding a situation. When I learned to listen just as much as I talked; to understand different people, and consider their approach as opposed to rushing to realize my own envisioning of a particular situation, results we all the better. For instance, I learnt that Katie made magic happen with a paintbrush, and Joe was brilliant at operating lights; his initial job was heavy-lifting.
We also suffered a fair share of disasters: the loss of a main actor and the stage manager, insufficient amounts of lapel microphones, and a number of...