By Dan Pratt (@Danieldpratt)
Editor’s Note: Dan Pratt is a stalwart virtual member of our Educators Get Educated group. It is a bit unclear how this organic and unlikely relationship evolved. We meet on the Gold Coast on Thursday mornings… he tunes in from British Columbia. He listens and offers his perspectives on the educational topics our group is chewing on. We appreciate his presence and delight in sharing our world with him. I was interested in his take on EDGE, and why he keeps showing up. – Eve Purdy
What exactly is EDGE; and why does it work so well? When Eve Purdy invited me to answer my own question, with creativity, this is what I landed upon.
I’ve decided that EDGE is an educational enigma. As with most things educational, it is unique to the cast of characters. So let’s talk first about the cast, producer, and director. EDGE is a weekly show, involving a cast of about 15 to 20. Producer and director, Victoria Brazil (locals call her Vic), sends out the week’s script 24-36 hours before show time. That may seem a short time for the cast to learn the script; but they never complain.
Cast members start drifting in about 7:20am. The numbers vary, depending on their availability and the script. Some are in other shows; and some … they may have slept in.
Vic (the director) starts the production at 7:30, literally asking cast members to go off-script. She does this with one question: “What is the educational highlight of your week?” That takes about 20-30 minutes, depending on how much time it takes to get into character and find our voice. Sometimes they laugh; and then they get serious. It’s hard to hear from the other side of the Pacific, so I’m not sure what they are talking about. Whether on or off script, through it all they seem to be mates.
There are virtual as well as in-person performances. Occasionally, there is a central invited character, usually because the script calls for someone that has been in that role before on a different stage. The dynamics change only slightly, giving that person more air time.
So, what is it that brings them back each week? They don’t get paid for showing up; they don’t get more credit on their actor’s equity card; and they don’t have to pass a test when it’s all over. There is some food and coffee – but not enough to get them to show up week after week at 7:30am. There seems to be a motivation of a different kind, a conversation and support that may be absent or partial elsewhere in their lives.
[Pause] … I think I have it! Now I see the essence of EDGE: It’s a reality show! Not a show about someone else’s reality, but our own reality. And Vic is not the director; she is the host. True, she does produce it, sending out the script. But that’s only an invitation. We can bring our own script and pretend it relates to the show’s script. Even guests can go off-script.
It’s ‘edge’, so to speak, is that it allows us to tell what is ‘real’ for us. It’s not about someone else’s reality, but a narrating of our reality. And it involves drama – sometimes funny; sometimes serious; sometimes frivolous; but always related to our lived experience.
So, in the end, we are all actors, script writers, and directors under one host and producer of this reality show called ‘EDGE’. Did I mention, we are also the audience for this reality show.
When they wrap, it’s usually with a round of silent applause – not because of anything exceptional, but because they love doing this reality show, week after week. So, it may not be an enigma, so much as a simple gathering that invites us to be ‘real’.
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