Sometimes I absolutely love students. Occasionally I question the depths of my cynicism, whether my utter commitment to doubting and undermining whatever message someone is trying to sell me is perhaps a tad obsessive and unnecessary. And then an event like the Opening Ceremony happens and my faith is restored. Yes, I realise, there are others who don’t react well to self-important patronising pricks who fuck about on the stage like it’s an Open Mic Night at the Queen Vic, I am not alone.
It’s fair to say that you won’t find a much more unimpressed audience than students and professionals outside of a Soviet show trial but it’s hardly inspirational stuff when certain fevered egos speak down to a group of students, who are sitting cross legged on the floor like they’re back in fucking primary school, and arouse not the expected merriment and laughter but squirming and barely repressed urges to rip out their own tendons.
I’m not going to name names because there’s absolutely no need. Every person in the audience who writhed or muttered ‘Fucking hell…’ under their breath knows who I’m talking about. The people on stage who tried their best not to stare open-mouthed at the offensive pun abortions that splattered on to the stage time and time again know who I’m talking about. The person(s) who I’m talking almost certainly knows who I’m talking about (or herbout) because they’d have to be a senseless incompetent not to realise, after the third joke plummeted nose first into the audience, that the ‘Oi! Oi! Did you kids know that joining two words together can make a humorous pun?’ style of humour was at best badly misjudged and at worst insulting to every person in the room.
I’m going to get in trouble for writing this. I know, I shouldn’t be slagging someone(s) off who’s taken the time out of their(s) busy schedule to get paid to come and teach us about life in the professional world of theatre. But then I remember two years ago the same person(s) referred to Festival-goers as the ‘little people’. I can forgive an unfortunate gaff about liking schools, but when it’s one of a series of head-smashingly dire moments you have to wonder if it’s not all one big ironic self-parody. It’s not. It’s an unprofessional fuck-up that may have made people wonder what exactly it is they’re meant to learn this week.
If you’re one of those paid to be here, more is expected of you. It’s probably not fair, but like I said, it’s an audience of students, if you’re going to conform to stereotypes then you should know that we’re all naturally desensitised and quick to kneejerk reactions. Let’s make a tacit agreement that I thought was there already: you don’t treat us like moronic little people and we won’t respond with vitriolic bile.