I have a confession to make. You may know, if you have been following this blog, that I offered a class in physical comedy at Mosaik support centre. The first session was last Friday, and one person turned up. Actually, as that person was Jaime, my friend and fellow teacher at Gekko, that really meant no-one came at all. I was not upset by this; after all, nobody knew me, so it was hardly a personal rejection, but I was a little embarrassed. All the more so since I have been asking for donations to cover the costs.
But this week we decided upon a different approach, and I have been visiting the classes at Mosaik in order to promote the class. I have now performed my little advertisement half a dozen times, and know it well. What follows is pretty much a transcript. I have included the movement, but you will have to picture for yourself the gestures and gurning which accompany it.
“Good morning. My name is Chris, and I am from England. I am a teacher of theatre. You may be wondering, What has theatre got to do with me? I am not an actor, not Tom Cruise, or Julia Roberts. But actually, we are all actors, all of the time. Your teachers are actors, performers. They do not just read to you. (I MIME READING A BOOK.) They move, they gesture (I DO BOTH.) They use their hands, their faces, their bodies (I INDICATE ALL THREE.) If you work in a shop, you perform. Come here! Buy this, buy that! Suits you! A waiter in a restaurant is an actor. (I MIME HOLDING A TRAY, DISTRIBUTING GLASSES TO THE STUDENTS NEAREST ME.) There you go, sir; there you go, madam, hope you enjoy.
These things, using your face, your hands, your body, help you to communicate. Theatre helps you to work together with other people, it helps you to co-operate. Above all, it helps you to be more confident. Maybe you are a little shy. (I MIME BEING SHY.) I will tell you the truth. Me, (POINTING TO MYSELF) I am a little shy. But that is on the inside. On the outside, I hope, I appear confident.
Of course, there is a problem with language. I speak English, un petit peu de Francais, and no Farsi at all – I am sorry. So, in my class, we do not work so much with speech; we use our hands, our faces, our bodies. But there are things we can do to communicate. (I MIME PICKING UP A BALL, THROW IT UP IN THE AIR, CATCH IT, THROW IT FROM HAND TO HAND, BOUNCE IT, THROW IT AWAY.) Or maybe a rope. (I MIME PULLING A ROPE, PATTING A HORSE.)
We can also use our imagination. This… (I TAKE A FRYING PAN FROM MY BAG) …is a frying pan. (I MAKE A SIZZLING SOUND.) But maybe… (I USE IT AS A MIRROR, POUTING INTO IT) Or maybe… (I USE IT AS A TABLE TENNIS BAT, PLAY SOME STROKES WITH FOUR TONGUE CLICKS FOR EACH SHOT.) Or even… (IT IS A SHOWER, AND I STAND BENEATH IT.) I see you smile. And laugh. In my class, we laugh a lot.
Perhaps you are thinking, maybe, maybe not. So why not try? If you like it, you can come again. And if not, thank you, bye, bye.”
All of this with simultaneous translation in Farsi and French. The signs are good, I think we might have a class.