Of course, it would be nice if I were to get the full cast for every rehearsal, but that’s not going to happen. In fact, if this is anything like the vast majority of productions I have directed, anywhere, I will be lucky to see them all together in one place before the opening night (and maybe not then.)
Even so, there are clear signs of real progress, as the books start to be put down and we see some real acting. The one point I have to keep hammering at them is that they have to use their hands to illustrate whatever it is they are saying. Maybe it is a cultural thing, this lack of digital demonstrativeness – they’re not Italians, after all – but it is very likely that a good proportion of their audience will not understand a word that is coming out of their mouths. This means they have to convey what they mean using their hands (and their faces and their bodies.)
The most gratifying thing is that they all seem to have been bitten by the theatre bug, and all are growing in confidence. Hossein was one of the shyest and quietest people in the group, but he was clamouring for an actual role, and at the time I happened to need the main bad guy, the Duke, brother to the King (or the Fat Prince in Brecht’s version), so he got the role. And after a diffident start, he has just got better and better; I am as proud of him as any of them.
Hikmat, who plays Simon, the love interest, was hanging around in Gekko Kids after today’s rehearsal, waiting for an English tutorial. George, the Greek maths and computer teacher, asked him if he liked theatre. “No,” he said, “I love it.”