Three big developments this week. The first you already know about – the dance which finishes the show. Not exactly the cast’s favourite rehearsal activity, and I do know how they feel, having that same sense of utter helplessness myself, but it has to be done. In fact, we tried to squeeze in another short rehearsal at the end of Wednesday’s rehearsal, but them being tired made it even harder. We shall persevere.
Wednesday brought the arrival of young Michael, the boy playing the human Christmas cracker which concludes the story. His name is Sajad, and he is the younger brother of one of the cast. He had learnt his lines, which was very sweet, but at first he was as wooden as Pinocchio. Hardly surprising when, like the rest of the cast, he had never acted before, but after a fair bit of coaching, he was getting the hang of it – “I’m a real boy!”
Even more important in lots of ways, it seems as though I have got a good stage manager. Zarifeh speaks excellent English, and also appears to be very well organised; immediately, she proved to be a great help. Like the other capable and talented students at Gekko, she is much in demand, but I think she could prove to be the final – and vital – piece in the puzzle.
On Thursday it took a while for people to arrive – and, worryingly, one boy is missing quite a few rehearsals – but once we were there (and the cast discovered there was no dance today) things started to come together promisingly. We went from the very beginning, and, while there have been some strong individual moments already, they were now starting to tie them together. I know that my belief in the production swings wildly, depending upon how the last rehearsal went, but it is good to end the week with some real optimism.