Behind ‘Behind the Scenes’

3 April 2019

by Janet Schorer

It’s 3:00am Amsterdam time and I haven’t slept a wink. I have my first ever ‘Skype with Sal’ and I’m a total ball of nerves. I don’t know why I’m so nervous – it’s like stage-fright! She seems terribly nice and Emmy has reassured me that Sally Robertson is the ‘best boss ever’ and from our short history of emailing back and forth I’m inclined to agree already.

When Emmy Abrahamson approached me to take on some of the proofing work at ISTA, I didn’t hesitate for a moment. Emmy assured me I would be ‘great at it’ and I trusted she knew. You see, Emmy and I worked together many years ago. In fact– that was a reversed situation – I hired Emmy to work with the concert production company I was working for at the time. So I accepted my ‘divine Karma’ and quite frankly, it came at a good time in my life. But that is another story!

Now I have to say, it isn’t that easy being a proofreader and perhaps even more so these days. After all, the written English language (the only one I personally write fluently in) has changed drastically since internet has become our main mode of communication and information gathering. Not to mention texting! Admittedly British English isn’t exactly a foreign language to me since Canadian English is snuggled somewhere between American and British grammar and spelling. Nevertheless, taking on this responsibility has been somewhat of a learning curve for me.

Now you might think it’s fun correcting everyone, a sort of wielding power over others, pointing out their flaws. But that means you have to be the one who is always correct. On your toes! Since I’m at an age now where I have learned to accept that I am not nor have I ever been or will I ever be ‘perfect’ I accept that even as the proofreader– I will miss things, not see that number error, overlook a typo, a double word etc. So please don’t be afraid of me.

Besides, my ambition in all of this is to make everyone’s contributions align with the excellency of what ISTA is and what ISTA does. I am so blown away – yes that’s right – my ‘socks off’ kind of blown away – you could even say ‘gobsmacked’ (and I have never used that word in a sentence before!) at the work ISTA does and has done for 40 years! Humbled by what all of you ISTA artists, teachers and students alike are manifesting on a daily basis into the universe. Amazed at the artists’ and teachers’ journeys that I have read about in ‘Scene’ and ‘Behind the scenes’. Bowled over by the mission and the impact of the Connect festivals on both individuals and undoubtedly on the very world itself… Then, now and well into the future in the form of what the students will forever carry from their theatrical journeys with ISTA on into their life journeys. If one is looking for inspiration there it is!

So you see, I view it all from behind behind the scenes. Not a typo, but a position of privilege and great responsibility. Backstage to the backstage crew – there to help ensure that when the ISTA curtain goes up at a festival, master class or workshop our stars are going to shine as brightly outward as they do inward!

Back to the ‘Skype with Sal’ – well as it happened, the call didn’t end up going through that day! So when we finally did Skype later that week I realised all the tension was for nothing and by now I was bloody anxious to speak to this lady! And she did not disappoint. The encouragement and appreciation I have experienced within ISTA is second to none. x