Carrie O'Hara

The pouting and ponderings of a single 30 something year old

Day 5: ‘Go to the Mattresses’ January 5, 2012

Filed under: Drama/theatre,Me, Myself, I,Teaching,The West Wing — carrieohara @ 10:57 pm

In the sappy chick flick ‘You’ve got mail!’ Tom Hanks character tells Meg Ryan’s that ‘The Godfather’ has the answers to all life’s questions. He advises that she ‘goes to the mattresses’ to save her ailing business… Do all she can, fight for what’s hers.

Today I had an opportunity to be inspired by two women of wisdom at work: they made me see, yet again, that how I approach a situation has almost everything to do with the outcome. They were my very own motivational speakers : urging me to fight for the rights of my subject in the curriculum rather than accept its demise (and that of my decade long career). They created an Action Plan in mere moments. And I was faced with a frightening reality: am I quitter rather than a warrior? Do I lie down my arms and die rather than choosing my weapon and facing the foe?

I spent this evening by the fire in my local, with two glasses of Shiraz and my ‘home from Drama School’ cousin. We spent hours talking theatre and acting; performance and plays. When I asked how he would defend Drama’s place on the curriculum, I wanted to type his words verbatim on to my phone and use his words as an emboldening tonic in my battle of wits and wills.

As my favourite gangster movie is Bugsy Malone, I can’t quite get on board with Tom ‘Joe Fox’ Hanks finding my wisdom in Corleone folklore. Typically I turn either to Carrie Bradshaw or with more intellect to President Josiah Bartlett and his West Wing staff… When his career hangs in the balance he listens with a weary ear to the frustrated aide who reminds him of the poignant words from their shared favourite movie, The Lion in Winter.

Geoffrey and John were locked in the dungeon and Henry was coming down to execute them. Richard tells his brothers not to cower but to take it like men and Geoffrey says, ‘You fool! As if it matters how a man falls down.’ And Richard says, ‘When the fall’s all that’s left, it matters a great deal.”

There is something terribly pessimistic in this, my chosen, sentiment: as if I deem execution inevitable…: I don’t; but I find poignancy in the realisation that even if, the end of my subject is nigh, ‘Exit pursued by a bear’, there is merit in loosing the battle if you’ve fought it the very best way you know how.

So tomorrow it’s armour on: ammunition ready. I will see you at the mattresses.


One Response to “Day 5: ‘Go to the Mattresses’”

  1. Debbierea Says:

    There are obviously depths and realities to this story that I have yet to hear. I hadn’t realised that the slaying of drama was an actual threat, that would be obscene! I can still see so many faces of pupils who walked in and out of your classroom, with their heads held high. I remember heart shattering performances.Who can forget the ‘shes out of my life moment’ in T3?
    Be a warrior Carrie, those kids need you and your action plan, go kick some butt. Budget cuts can’t decimate the arts, and the wonderful work you do so well!! x

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