Home education diary, May 2002

May 23rd

In April, the boys did no academic work - no ACE, anyway - and we spent time going out and about with my parents, and then some friends who came to stay.  They played games, and we talked, and we visited some places of interest - all educational in a loose kind of way, I suppose. 

The biggest excitement and change to our lives began when Daniel joining the theatre group back in January. One more thing to add to his hectic schedule, I thought. What I hadn't bargained for was the utter commitment that drama people seem to have when plays are being produced! When he started, they were just beginning work on a new production with the teenage group, called simply 'Nuts'.  It was in preparation for a competition called 'international connections' run by the National Theatre in London.

Daniel somehow landed a pretty big part in it. It seems that he really is quite good at drama. I didn't see it the play at all, or even read the script until the premiere performance that was on Easter Sunday in the evening.  I was VERY impressed. It was extremely well done, even though I have to admit that I didn't really understand it fully, as it's a modern political drama, written by an Italian, translated into English. 

But even I could see that Daniel was very good. So were all the others, most of whom don't even have English as a first language. I was also impressed that after the show, they all helped packing up the props, and generally clearing up.  Prior to the premiere they'd been having three rehearsals per week, and somehow Richard got involved since it needed to be filmed to send off to the judges in London. So he was recording it on video. 

After the premiere, there were a few more performances of 'Nuts' around the island, so that meant more rehearsals, and some overnight stays. Then they got the amazing news that they had won their competition! There are about twelve different plays that can be chosen, apparently, and each group was judged against all the others who performed the same play. So there were only about ten other groups doing 'Nuts'.  Even so, it's pretty exciting, particularly as one of the groups which they beat was the Cambridge University drama group.

So these teens all have to fly to London to perform at the National Theatre youth stage on July 11th.  We've decided that we're going to take advantage of this, since Daniel's flight will be paid for, and possibly Richard's too if they want him as an extra adult. So we'll all go, partly so we can see Dan at the National, and partly to have a whistle-stop tour of the relatives. 

Just to add to the complexity of life, the teenage drama group are taking Guildhall grade 5 drama exams at the end of next week. So as well as working on'Nuts', they're having to work on play-writing and sketches for the exam. Daniel is actually pretty stressed by it all; he says the small group he's workign with in the exam spend a lot of time messing about, and they're all even more stressed than he is, because they also have school exams.

Today he's been rather tired, wanting lots of hugs, and talking about all the things that are worrying him. I'm trying to make the most of every minute. I'm sure some fifteen-year-old boys don't want to hug their mums any more, and I don't know how long it will continue.

Tim, meanwhile, has started playing the piano in church every so often when they have an extra service, or need a pianist. He's loving it, and seems to be doing pretty well. It's as if he got over a 'hump' in his playing, and now has the confidence to do so at fairly short notice. He seems to be particularly good at sight-reading.

Daniel is still playing clarinet, and is now in the Larnaka Municipal marching band, which I love watching and listening to. 

So it's been quite an exciting couple of months, one way and another. 

People sometimes ask me if I'm 'proud' of my sons, and I'm never quite sure what to answer. Really, if I'm honest, I think I'm somewhat bemused, wondering how my little babies have grown up so strong and confident, and are happy to do these things that I couldn't do in a million years. 

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