Val and I were taken by Rachel, one of Better Days permanent staff, up to Moria to visit a couple of the projects there, with the aim of seeing if I might be able to do some work there. I was introduced to Iman, who teaches Dari and Drama at the School for Peace there, and we discussed the possibilities of working together.
Then over to the Eco-hub, Better Days’ permaculture vegetable garden – a wonderful, peaceful, productive space – where we ran into Liam, a Canadian I had met in the Olive Grove when I came here in February. At the time, he had been working on an amphitheatre / meeting place there, which he he says is now complete and would benefit from a performance to bring it alive. There are lots of children in the Olive Grove, but their lives are chaotic, and the chances of them having the will or ability to show up regularly in order to put together any sort of show are remote. It occurred to me that the way around this would be to contain the whole process, from warm-up to casting to rehearsal to performance, within one day, and everyone seemed to think it was an idea with potential.
Back to Gekko for the afternoon session, and Irene warned me that, with Eid fast approaching, I could expect very few in my class. She had told me this before, but today it seemed likely to prove true. The start of the lesson is always fractured, with individuals coming and going, but today proved an extreme version. For a while it looked I might have three, and that would be tricky, but eventually enough – nine – arrived, and we were able to begin.
I started with the traditional mirror exercise, which morphed into scenarios involving a mirror with a mind of its own, and then tried out some ideas involving the whole group: a woodland glade becoming a sinister forest (why are all my ideas so dark?) with them as the trees, as well as providing a soundscape; then an enchanted castle, created using their bodies, making anyone who entered age and turn to dust (dark again).
Both ideas worked very well; what had started as a potential disaster emerged as a success. There are the makings of a talented drama group, no doubt about it. Will they fulfil their potential? We shall see.