We did Billy Liar as part of Drama GCSE. It was one of my favourites.
I was never very good at drama, but I loved the idea of it. Plus, in my all-girls school, drama was the only subject that had boys (bussed in from the ‘brother school’ twice a week for lessons). It helped that said group of boys included my disproportionately-adored on/off teenage boyfriend. I looked forward to drama all week and applied insane amounts of lip gloss accordingly.
My drama teacher – who I am still friends with and is wonderful – was incredibly kind to me. She knew the extent of my out-of-control schoolgirl crush and, although she would occasionally take me aside for bemused head-shaking ‘he’s really not worth it’ little chats, she would often take pity on me and pair me up with the object of my affection for duologues and the like.
When Billy Liar came along, this kind of completed the circle. It seems now even more apt than it was at the time, and I could kind of see it even then.
He was such a Billy Liar back then, and I desperately wanted to be Liz. I had forgotten how much until I happened to read this great piece this morning.
I don’t know exactly what happened to that boy – we’re not in touch beyond the occasional Facebook comment. But I know he’s not a Billy any more; at least, I don’t think so. He got away, lives on the other side of the world and still does all the things he loved doing back then. Same for me, really.
I’m so happy we both turned out to be a couple of Lizzes, in the end.