By Lynne Tyson
The North London Academy of Performing Arts faces closure so the new pupils set out to save the school. Helped and hindered by the teachers, betrayed by some rough bikers, they battled to put on the show of their lives so the Academy can remain open.
Cast Gladys Albright (F), Bobby (M), Rachel (F), Crystal (F), Michelle (F), Anastasia (F), Bridget (F), Jeremy (M), Professor Higgins (M), Ricky (M), Hank (M), Marvin (M), Mr Meaner (M), Grimley (M), Dr Travers (M), Julian Trotter (M), Penelope Spinstrer (F), Katy (F), Tina (F), Lucy (F), Paula (F), Tea Lady Mary (F), Jake (M), Elmer (M),
CHORUS Pupils, lively, excited, all ages. Phil. Band Member. Jill. Freddie.
Scene – Theatre Academy
Time – 1980’s
12 Male, 12 Female
An excerpt from Flame
The pupils enter looking around
Dialogue from Gladys coming from either side of stage or the balcony
Gladys Yes, hello, can I help you. What exactly are you all doing down there?
Bobby We’re here for the auditions of course.
Gladys Auditions, I’m sorry there’ll be no auditions today. Or any other day for that
matter. Don’t you know the Academy is closing down? We did put notices up.
Crystal Closing down … but that’s impossible. Oh come on, you’re having us on.
Gladys Having you on I am not young lady. The North London Academy of Performing Arts will be closing its prestigious doors for the last time in just two weeks time.
Michelle But why? This place has been going for years, it’s world famous.
Gladys Famous, well it used to be yes. (Melancholy) I used to be so proud of the Academy but times have changed and the long and short of it is that we haven’t produced any real talent for years, so the board of directors have decided to close us down. They’re selling out to a large Supermarket chain. I could give you their address if you’d like.
Michelle no thanks, I want to be a singer not a shelf filler. I can’t believe this, I’ve come all this way for an audition and now this.
Rachel I wondered why there were so few people here. I guess we didn’t see the notices.
Anna Well that’s in then, we might as well go home. My parents are gonna love this.
Katy I don’t believe it, I’ve been looking forward to this for months.
Paula Me too, this was meant to be my big chance.
Lucy Ooooh, I think I’m going to cry.
Bobby Just a minute, if you’re closing down, what are this band doing here.
Gladys Oh well, they’re been paid until the end of the month, as are the teachers. So I imagine they’ll amuse themselves somehow until then.
Bobby So what you’re saying, is that for the next two weeks, it’s business as usual.
Gladys Well yes, I suppose so. What exactly are you getting at young man?
Bobby Well if the band and the teachers are going to be here for the next two weeks, why not let us use the Academy, it’s better than nothing and we’ve got nothing else to do now anyway.
Gladys Oh I don’t know about that young man, what would be the point, as I’ve said come next Friday it’s the end for this Academy. The Board of Directors themselves will be coming in to oversee the closure. Oh if only we’d taken Bananarama when they came for their audition, things could have been so different.
Anna But what have you got to lose by letting us stay?
Tina Yeah, at least it’ll give us some chance.
Gladys That’s what this Academy has always been about you know, giving people a chance, dancers, singers, actors, young and old, oh we’ve had some real characters over the years you know. But I fail to see what good two weeks will be to you.
Crystal Well like we said it’s better than nothing. So can we stay?
Gladys Well I suppose so, if you think you can learn anything. I’d better let the teachers know.
Bobby YES! Well come on everybody. For the next two weeks, we have to do our best
Bobby moves away from the crowd towards Rachel
Bobby So what’s your name then?
Rachel Rachel and you?
Bobby I’m Bobby, I‘m gonna be the next George Michael.
Rachel Oh yeah right, and I’m gonna be the next Cyndi Lauper.
Bobby Look I’m serious, you’ve gotta believe in yourself, if you don’t believe you can make it, what are you doing here?
Crystal Well, I’m definitely gonna make it big, I’ve already done some work in the clubs, I’m just here to refine my act you know.
Lucy What sort of act is that then?
Crystal Well I guess you could call it dancing of a sort of exotic nature. But all the punters at the clubs say I’ve got a huge talent and it’s only a matter of time before someone grabs me up.
Paula You can bet on it.
Michelle Well, I think Bobby’s right, if we don’t believe in ourselves, no-one else is going to believe in us are they.
Bridget That’s why I’m here really, I think I’ve got the talent really, but I need more confidence in myself really.
Anna Oh, really. Well I’ve run away from home to come here, and I’m gonna show my over-protective, smothering parents that I can make it on my own.
Katy But we’ve only got two weeks, how’re we gonna achieve anything in that time?
Bobby Hang on a minute, I’ve just had an idea. How do they know that there isn’t some real talent on this stage right now? If we really put out backs into it for the next two weeks, we could really show those Directors that it’s worth keeping this Academy open.
Rachel Hold on aren’t you getting a bit carried away.
Bobby Of course I’m getting carried away, but why not? Have you got a better idea?
Rachel Well no but I just don’t see how we can do it. Unless the Directors visit the Academy every day for the next two weeks how will they know that we’re any good?
Michelle She’s got a point, we need to find a way to get them all down here, so we can we can show them what we can do.
Crystal Well why don’t we put on a show.
Bobby That’s a great idea, we put on a show!
Anna And maybe the teachers will help us out, after all if the Academy stays open, they’ll get to keep their jobs, won’t they.
Bridget Do you really think we can do it, I mean really?
Bobby Of course we can, and anyway we’ll never know unless we try. Come on – we’ve gotta go for it. We’re only young once aren’t we?
Jeremy Yeah Hi, Auditions yah?
Bobby Yah – I mean yeah, hi I’m Bobby
Jeremy So where’s the action, I’m raring to go
Katy Well the problem is they’re planning to close the Academy down in two weeks
Crystal But we’re all planning to do a show to impress the Board of Directors
Paula Yeah, we’re hoping we can convince them to keep the Academy open
Jeremy Wow, cool idea yeah. Straight in at the deep end, great. So what have you got planned for this show of ours?
Rachel Well we’re only just getting started, we haven’t met any of the teachers yet, but judging by the state this place has got into, I doubt they’ll be much help.
Bridget But the band are really good aren’t they?
Bobby Yeah maybe we should get to know them, we can’t do this without them. Hey lads what do you think about our idea of a show.
Band Member Yeah we’re in. You just tell us what you want us to play and we’ll oblige.
Bobby Great thanks a lot, with you on our side we can really do this.
Jeremy Yeah great band, I mean like wow.
Rachel So you’ve run away from home, don’t your parents have any idea where you’ve gone?
Anna No they don’t. And that suits me fine. It’ll do them good to see I can stand on my own two feet for a change. I mean don’t get me wrong they don’t mean any harm, they just won’t let me live my life. They want me to go and work in a bank, find a nice young man, have a big white wedding, honeymoon in the Seychelles, buy a nice little starter home and have 2 or 3 coochy coochy grandchildren yada yada. They don’t seem to think I’m good for anything else. I just had to get away. My name’s Anastasia but you can call me Anna, in fact I insist on it!
Michelle I’m Michelle, so what do they do then, these parents of yours?
Anna Well Mummy doesn’t work, but she’s always hosting some coffee morning for the local W.I. or organising an event for the tennis club. Daddy’s a banker in the city and he’s on tons of committees for this, that and the other, I haven’t a clue of all the organisations he’s involved in.
Bridget You’re really brave, I could never do that. I wouldn’t have the courage to just leave and try and make it on my own, not really.
Anna Well you’re ‘really’ gonna have to pull your socks up girl. If you stand any chance of making it in this business, you’re gonna have to show everyone that you’ve got what it takes. What’s your name?
Anna Well Bridget you’ve gotta stand up for yourself girl, because no one else will.