I don't think I've ever felt quite as relaxed before a 'big' drama occasion as I did today, ahead of some of our younger students performing for the Singapore Youth Festival judging. I never really take the whole business of awards for drama too seriously, but my awareness that others, perhaps understandably, do tends to undercut my straightforward enjoyment of proceedings. But this year the only butterflies floating around in my stomach came early in the day, before we set off. Once we were on our way, with nothing forgotten, I had the oddest certainty that everything would go smoothly and a distinct suspicion that the kids were going to go up a few notches on the big day. And so it proved, from the very first moments of the show.
It was the relative youth of our thespians that instilled these feelings. Younger actors tend to 'hide' their final performances, entirely unconsciously, never quite firing on all cylinders in rehearsal, even at their most committed. It's as if they need the reality of public performance to finally bloom, and when this is happening to several of them at the same time something quite magical takes place. Somehow I knew it was going to happen, and it did.