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Priorities

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Kate Walder and Nat Jobe

Kate Walder and Nat Jobe. Photographer Richard Hedger

Hi all!

Apologies for my irregular appearances of late. I know it’s not fair of me to be so hot and cold. It’s like I burst into your life and you get all excited again and think there could be something really special happening between us, and then I just vanish. I come back when it’s convenient for me. It’s so one-sided. I can’t keep playing with your emotions.

To be honest, I’ve been working like a dog. It’s fine, I don’t want to talk about it. It’s FINE. Oh well if I must. I’ve been teaching seven hundred children that don’t have any discipline and have been brought up in a generation that has no respect for authority. It‘s not like it was in my day. Times have changed. I remember when I used to walk thirteen miles for a pitcher of water, with no shoes and no teeth. Now these kids do whatever they want and have no appreciation for experience and wisdom and age.

Take for example the Music Theatre course I’ve been teaching. I was asked to put together a little end of term piece, but I decided to give them a unique and valuable experience and write a ten page musical MASTERPIECE. Oh the pathos! The irony. The brilliantly interwoven literary references. I slaved away at that script, making the plot tighter than a Swiss clock and do you know what happened on the day of the performance? Isaac, the trouble-maker, decided he wanted to be Mary Poppins instead. “But your character is integral to the story Isaac” I explained. “You are the Russian peasant who has survived on good morals and potatoes – and lemonade, from the rogue lemon tree that has been in your family for years. The lemon tree is an allusion for overcoming the odds and dreaming big and I can’t just cut this character out of the story now, do you understand?” He was very upset. He was desperate to sing Let’s go fly a kite. So I made a deal.

"It’s also my duty to sometimes do ridiculous things in public"

“What can we do to make your character more fun?” I asked. He said he wanted to wear a kilt. So he became the Russian peasant with Scottish ancestry. It made absolutely no sense, but what could I do? I felt like saying “If you were in the real world Isaac, you couldn’t just turn Hamlet into a Thai massage therapist because it’s more fun for you. The story is written this way for a REASON!” But apparently the point of the course is for the kids to explore their creativity and so on and so forth so I guess my expectations have to take a back seat.

I’ve also been trying to have a life, other than inspiring and over-investing in a bunch of eight year olds. I’ve had to prepare for auditions and keep up my regular yoga practise (you know how angry I get if I’m not meditating upside down at least once a day) and maintain friendships and have sufficient time to angst over my life choices. Don’t laugh, that’s a very important part of my day! You should know by now that if I get too happy I become boring. And no-one likes a boring columnist. Who wants to read about being blissed out on agave juice and sunshine and tolerance? People want pain. It’s my duty to feel more of it on everyone’s behalf and then turn it into amusing prose.

It’s also my duty to sometimes do ridiculous things in public. Like on Monday night, where I wore a hideous blonde wig and sang Especially for You next to Nat Jobe in a mullet. It was a fundraiser. No not for charity, for theatre – the other not-for-profit industry in this country. It seemed like a good idea at the time but I think the photos may suggest otherwise.

Anyway, enough excuses. You get the drift. I know I should make more time for us. I’m sorry for prioritising the children who aren’t even mine. I don’t know how everything got so out of balance but I’m going to change it! I’m going to put more effort into the things I really care about, like writing about myself on a weekly basis. Because that’s what a committed relationship is all about! It’s only fair – to the both of us.

 

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Kate has written 22 articles on AussieTheatre
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