When you go backstage

First of all, I apologise for the unoriginal title for this post. I was debating with myself if I should put of several posts about the trip or one long post. This is going to be a very long one, considering I always drift off into other subjects anyway. I’ve gathered a few observations and thoughts on my theatre-trip I’d like to share with you.

So, here I go.

Working in groups can be extremely stressful. Over the past few days we were sent into various small groups to get together short performances. I was excited to do so and so were many others. We would gather ideas, exchange opinions and finally get together a concept and get it “stage-proof”. That was the general plan anyway. Now, the first group I was in consisted of six people. Four of them were messing around most of the time, one of us was pissed off and I was trying (let me do that again) trying to get them to work together. It’s not that they didn’t get along. They got along. In fact they got along so well they kept cuddling up together and giggling and talking about everything but the performance. And if they did bring ideas they were just useless. The teachers had given us half an hour to put together a performance, they wasted about 20 minutes by just doing nothing and well, cuddling and things (more to that later). So I got them to go outside, where it was more quiet, by yelling at them to follow me and get their act together.
Surprisingly enough they did. You should know I’m not the bossy type, but this trip showed me a whole new side of mine.
So in the last ten minutes we got the concept together and practiced it a bit. It went okay in the end.

That isn’t the worst group I was in. But I’ll get to that later. I had quite a good group after that. We were six again, but this time four of us were concentrating. One was halfway concentrated and the other one, well, he’s another chapter entirely. But we got a performance together, we practiced it several times and it wa successful on stage.

The next day though I was in the worst group of them all. We were eight. Now, four of us were gathering ideas – well no, on second thought it was three of us, the fourth one was being serious, but wasn’t focusing – then two were giggling, one let himself get distracted and the other one didn’t say anything. Do you remember the “other chapter entirely” I was talking about? He was there too. He was one of the gigglers. But he was more that. So much more than that. He just disappeared for half an hour and then decided what he was going to do, regardless of what anybody else says. We sort of got together a performance by the time we were up, but “the chapter” and another girl kept laughing during the performance. I was so stressed out after that.

The work description was to tell a story each by making 20 steps forward, with only five sentences. So while you didn’t say anything, another one did, for example. So first of all we decided who would say what and when. But at step five, let’s call her chapter girl, suggested I do it myself and they’ll talk about the effects we had to build in. As it wasn’t working anyway I did that with two other people. While we were doing it our teacher came in and asked what the others were doing, sitting in a circle, talking about everything and nothing. And they said they had been excluded!

Then, we were done with splitting the steps when “chapter” said when he wanted to talk. We told him that wouldn’t work, since everything was already set and we were running out of time, so he just said he’ll do it anyway. Fortunately he talked when he was supposed to in the end. Oh and then “chapter girl” blamed me that we weren’t finished yet. By the way, they hadn’t done anything up until then. “Chapter girl” didn’t have a story to tell, which had been homework for the trip. When the teachers realised half the class didn’t have it, they said to do it in the evening. Did she? Of course not.

The outcome was only halfway finished, but what we had, worked. I needed about two hours to calm down again and even after that I was still tense.

The happier I was when I was put into a new group after tea where everyone was creative and concentrating on the task. It was most relaxing group assignment I’d done so far.

How to be cool. Is there an instruction book for that? To me, the “cool kids” are like a seperate species. I know I’m always saying that we should say “them”, because we’re all a “we” anyway. We are. We all have things in common. And I got on with everyone (except for chapters) very well these past few days, but I did notice a difference in the way the cool kids act and in the way my kind acts. My kind seems to be the quiet kind that goes to bed at a reasonable time and doesn’t smuggle alcohol on a school trip.

But it’s not just that. To be honest with you, I’m not all that into hugging and cuddling and general physical contact. My friends I will hug of course and put my arm around them. Because they are my close friends I feel comfortable with that. Now, the cool-kids, most of them anyway, seem to have a really massive urge for physical contact. These past few days I’ve made the weirdest observations on teenage behaviour. People who have known each other for a few weeks only go around hugging each other, lying on each others’ lap, putting their arms around the girls (the cool ones). I don’t understand it. I feel like there’s a secret codex in the cool world, the cool-code – the coodex – the coolex? – the coole? Pick one. It contains a secret language, secret signs, the ground knowledge you need to get the cool jokes, the general behaviour concept to uphold.

What do you need to be like to be cool? Is it style? Beauty? Optimism? A particular attitude? I don’t know. But it’s nothing you can name. It’s like an aura, some vibe they give off that makes them cool, makes them popular. There are some who don’t want to be the center of attention, who will walk in and out of a room without anyone noticing. And then there are people everyone will notice when the arrive, gravitating towards them, and who everyone will miss when they leave.

It seems that those who can’t get there now – just won’t.

So are they born with this aura? Do they have an innate cool-code (or the other varieties) or do they learn it first?

In my twelve years of school so far I’ve spent most of them on the quiet side, observing those particular people who don’t even have to try to be popular. They always have this air about them that makes you like them, even if you don’t want to. Is this survival of the fittest? Are these people are future leaders – or will their glory time end after school?

Next question, what do I have to do to be cool? Should I always dress in the newest fashion, staying neutral and nice to look at. Should I wear a special bra to improve my bust? Should I succeed in many subjects and party through from friday to sunday, living on red bull and other energy drinks? Should I smoke? Should I build myself an image or do something scandalous?

Even if I changed my personality and did all those things, flirting with boys, being friends with them at the same time, even if I made my name in high school – I would never be cool.

I simply don’t have it. Nor do I have the energy to stay up and drink all night and get up at eight in the morning, go back to bed again at three in the morning. I can’t get school and a loud social life under one hat without looking like a panda. I seldom come up with some catch phrase at the right moment. I have my close friends and I make new ones too, but I don’t need to be marked on facebook with 50 other people, meaning the world to someone I barely know.

Psychologists should do a study on this subject. I’m not the only one fascinated by this – as it seems – natural phenomena.

Smoking is another thing I don’t understand. Why do people – especially young people – start smoking? Is it to be cool? Is it just because they can? Or can they really not find any other way to deal with stress?

On the theatre trip we did this exercise where we would all walk through the room and they would ask questions. If we were to answer the question with “yes” we should stop walking and stand there for a few seconds. There were questions about alcohol and smoking. When they asked, who smokes or has smoked before about ten people kept walking. We were 54 in total. 54 smokers in the room and most of them as old as me. It was shocking.
I realised how easy it is for young people to get their hands cigarettes, drugs and alcohol when I was about 14. I saw class mates of mine smoking groups, then I saw them smoke things that were not cigarettes. And then I went into a super-market with some friends and we were able to buy highly concentrated alcohol at under 18. Most shops check, but everyone knows where they don’t.

It’s sentences like: “I need a cigarette now.” or “What did you do with my alcohol?” (referring to a bottle of vodka) that shock me many times.

I don’t smoke or do drugs and I barely drink, one beer and that’s it. I must have skipped the phase where you think that “binge-drinking” is a good idea. I’ve never even tried any smoking anything.

Question is; I am the norm? Statistics show (the game, I mean) clearly that I am not. And it makes me quite sad. Of course there are enough people who don’t smoke either, thank goodness, but I just wish that it would have been ten people standing, not walking and the other 44 walking freely.

So, as you can see this trip got me thinking quite a bit. Just know that my generation can’t be put in one box. In fact, there aren’t any proper categories to put people in. A cool-kid isn’t just a cool-kid, a nerd isn’t just a nerd. I believe high school sets an example for many things that will influence our every day life – even when school is over.

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One thought on “When you go backstage

  1. excellent post. To me the cool kids are the ones who know what they want, and who they are, and do not just try to be like everyone else. Drinking and smoking is not cool. But I agree, 44 out of 54 who have tried smoking seems pretty excessive and sad.

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