A blogpost unlike any other in this series: less a reflection on what has happened, more a contemplation of what is to come. A punctuation point, certainly, marking the beginning of a new adventure. Tomorrow I fly to the Greek island of Lesvos, with the aim of setting up a Drama project at Gecko School, a school for unaccompanied refugee children.
Also, a confession. This is my third such project in as many years, but the first in which I will not be accompanied by my wife Val (at least on a permanent basis – she does plan to visit.) Coping with the technical challenges of posting a daily blog will fall upon my own, all too fallible shoulders. No great shakes, I hear you cry mockingly, but you underestimate my fluster factor when managing such things. This is, therefore, a test run. (Wish me luck.)
Number three, I also have to deal with the greatest number of unknowns. As before, it takes place in a school, which provides a structure and a measure of support. But the unknown factors mount up all the same: how many young people (if any!)? Boys and girls? Will any/enough speak English? Any performance experience? Or even willingness to perform? I remind myself that I have been through this entire process many times, and that dealing with it is part of the fun. All the same…
Not that there’s NO plan. If all goes as well as I hope, we will start to work towards a production, to be performed (at least once), in front of a live audience. Because I genuinely believe that this is the experience that every young person, wherever they come from, should have the opportunity to undergo. That it is a part, and an exciting part, of an education.
At the moment, I am thinking of a play based upon Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle. It has a story-telling structure, which should help, in the likely absence of costumes, set, etc. It has plenty of room within it – for lots of characters, for different stories, for songs, for physical theatre. And it is, in its own way, about a refugee.