Thank God it's Friday

22nd July 2005 at 01:00
Monday Mary Magdalene's got boyfriend trouble. Two weeks until Jesus Christ Superstar and he resents the amount of time she spends after school rehearsing. Especially with Judas.

I'm trying not to worry about the set, but we can't rehearse the Crucifixion properly until we've got one. Posters are up and look seriously cool - an Andy Warhol-style picture of the four main characters. Jesus tells everyone about the costume shopping expedition to the Metro Centre on Friday and how I almost got us thrown out of one shop when I took a photo of him trying on shoes. I say I felt quite subversive. "What's subversive?"

asks Vicky.

Tuesday Mary's boyfriend has dumped her. Tears. Judas rushes to console her. We have to manage without Herod; she's playing Anne Frank somewhere else this week. Peter doesn't turn up either, although she makes it to the summer concert tonight. I'll have words tomorrow. Jesus's mother, who works in the school office, shows me the requisition our technical director (aka head of science) has submitted: "9in nails, hammer, pliers and a first aid kit". When Jesus sees it, he turns white. "What's pliers?" asks Vicky.

Wednesday Heat wave. The cast are melting. I give Peter the "responsibility and letting people down" speech. She says she had to go home because she was in the concert. I point out that so were nine other cast members but they managed to get to rehearsals. She isn't happy and I'm worried. It's too late to lose a major member of the cast. The musical director is rehearsing the band next door - they sound good. If only we had a set. We run right through Act I, which they remember well. At the end I say, "If it gets no better, it will be adequate." "What's adequate?" asks Vicky.

Thursday The heat breaks and the cast shivers with the cold. Peter arrives late, anxious and apologetic; she's been looking after the Year 6 intake visiting this week. I try to be nicer to her. Pilate has grafted himself to the director's chair that will be his throne. In his uniform, he looks like he's wandered in from Jewel in the Crown. I hope the role doesn't go to his head: he's just been made a senior prefect. Scaffolding for the set has still not materialised. Mary and Judas arrive together, hand-in-hand, all smiles. I say I sense a happy denouement. "What's a denoo... one of them?"

asks Vicky.

Friday Inset day. T-shirt sales in Stockton surged last night as we cleared the local supermarket's shelves of black, white and red garments. Lunchtime is spent sorting, labelling and hanging up. We hold a crisis meeting about the set. Our careers teacher mentions a source of scaffolding and phone calls are made. Success! The rest of the day? Self-evaluation and school improvement plans. Value-added, measurable progress. I think of our show and, feeling just like Vicky, ask myself, "What's measurable?"

Joanna Duncan teaches English and drama at Northfield school and sports college in Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees

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