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The drama school bubble

A cast of zombies. Photo: Nik Zane
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There is a familiar sight in zombie films: ruthless, inhuman creatures scrambling to feed on destruction, a mindless follower mentality drawn by the promise of brains/food/life.

Let’s relocate that image, make the carnage less visible and turn the creatures into a group of students dressed in black exploring Laban Movement Analysis. On the surface these people seem normal, if you ignore the fact that they’re subtly exploring punch or trying to physicalize the movements of a plastic bag. But these are not normal students (the Laban class should have been a hint). They are creatures that don’t question intense reactions to seemingly trivial matters, It is beyond their control. These are drama school students and they have been infected by the drama school bubble.

Drama school can be an introverted place. You learn, you observe, you grow, but you spend a huge amount of time surrounded by the same 14 to 40 people who know things about you that some of your closest friends may not yet have realised or deem appropriate. It’s a place where you should be focusing on yourself and your personal growth, but this very easily creates a bubble that dulls your awareness of the outside world.

There is always a point where ‘things’ can become too much: someone has spread gossip about you/a close friend; someone deemed undeserving in your eyes lands a lead role in a public show; or you’re just having a moment of self-consciousness and doubt. We have all been there and we all know how this focuses our attention onto our immediate surroundings.

But the drama school bubble doesn’t disintegrate at graduation. The bubble may seem to liquefy and dissolve, you may find yourself spending more time with your friends outside of your drama school group and learning what has happened to the world since the bubble materialised. But it hasn’t gone. Nope. It reappears when you get work.

[pullquote]No-one wants to be a zombie[/pullquote]

The bubble descends on a cast, not in precisely the same way but it is still there. The bubble’s reach is wider and less obvious, it has moulded and morphed in many ways. It’s a working-performer bubble. It has grown and matured in some ways.

There are positive aspects to the effect of the bubble. It allows a student time for self-improvement and growth, a cocoon stage if you will. However, to fully grow as a performer, and mature as a person, an understanding of the wider world is needed and this should never be forgotten. Fight the infection and zombie mentality by understanding the bubble’s benefits and downfalls. When you feel the weight of the bubble drawing ever closer remember; no one wants to be a zombie.

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