Or ‘Teacher puts it right’. An unpleasant comment from an – older than me ha ha! – ex-fellow student, a postponed NHS appointment and a worrying email from an actor’s agent all conspired to dampen my spirits today. Then a wonderful young student arrived and the world brightened.
I love teaching – not so much dinning in information as drawing it out. As we grow older, we forget how voracious for knowledge young people are. Today’s student astounded me by what he knows at sixteen.
Then I went and astounded myself by realising how much I’ve learned and done. We were studying J B Priestley’s AN INSPECTOR CALLS. I hadn’t forgotten what a brilliant play it is, just mislaid memories somewhere along the line. Then I remembered a stunning production of it at Birmingham Rep where the set started cracking open as the play went on – deliberately, you understand – symbolising the cracks in our society and what was about to happen after the action takes place – 1912 – Titanic sinks, First World War – and how hypocrisy and self-interest played their roles in bringing them about. So astute. And just what is happening to us all now – possibly on an even grander scale.
To lighten the mood, here comes the name drop: Dear Reader – I met J B Priestley. Briefly. He wouldn’t really have noticed me. It was a production of TIME AND THE CONWAYS at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford. I was a trainee director. He was in his nineties and looked a little like Alfred Hitchcock. I breathed the same air.
Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford.
That’s how teacher puts it right, remembering some outstanding moments.
How wonderful, and how lucky! I have always loved that play whether it’s been in or out of fashion. I saw a wonderful production at the Aldwych in the mid ‘Nineties some time with Barry Foster.