Thursday, 10 June 2010

The Tearful Skylark

Fear is so infectious. The folk around us have such an influence on the dynamic of our lives, and when we are performers the state of mind, and attitudes of those working with us can alter the whole route of that performance.

A Diva makes the others feel inadequate or irritated, or maybe the duet with the Diva becomes unglued. Fear is just the same in children, teenagers and adults alike. I watched tears spread like the flu today. Thankfully it was nothing that I had said or done!

Hang on to your seat and try to keep up - hear we go.......

The Under 9's were singing a lovely little song called The Skylark by Thomas Dunhill. The first small child was ok ish, but a little wobbly and after finishing promptly started weeping quiet tears, possibly of relief that it was all over.

The 2nd little cherub looked a bit puzzled, but gamely got up and started singing. There was a magnificent over sized sniff from singer number 1 and promptly on cue number 2 burst into howls of angst.....and sat down having not quite made it to the end of the song.

Performer number 3 was clearly and visibly shaken, got up to sing and after two and a half bars stopped dead, scanned the room with large and ominously wet eyes, then decided crying was the only option really, and dissolved.

The class was rapidly enroute to death by drowning so we stopped and decided to start at the other end of the seating line, where the infection had not got a hold as yet.

Child number 12 got up next - no, bounced up onto the stage, smiled a beatific smile and said firmly ' Don't worry I'm not going to cry, I like singing'! Performed briskly and with a broad grin (which makes singing a bit tough!) and then we were on the home straight and her vocal antibiotics had cured the fear.

It is a strange phenomenon, but in my own performing and certainly in my teaching I have watched the germ of fear or depression be passed around backstage. I learnt early that the only thing to do was to take away the source of the infection and put them in isolation until the rest have gained back their bonhomie! Hence, I suppose why the Diva has a place to her/him self to dress and prepare. Is it possible, that is where the Star's Dressing Room idea comes from.................and I always assumed it was because I was the leading lady!

The upshot was that they all finished the class eventually and then the little girls all became utterly tame once more and left happy and whistling and ready for that Macdonald's Mini Burger they had all been promised for singing nicely!

The parents and I were wrecks, all desperate for a very strong coffee and a couple of paracetamol ! (or maybe a Gin)

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