The drawing at the heart of the poster for the play is by Matin, who plays a number of roles in the play. He is one of a number of capable artists in the school, and though there is no art as part of the regular curriculum, it is offered whenever there is a volunteer with the requisite skills (Jaime is one such at present). In addition, those who show a particular aptitude are sent for lessons at a local school for art in the town, with a scholarship.
With just one week to go, some cracks are starting to appear. As well as a certain fading of energy (perfectly normal in the rehearsal process at this stage), there are particular problems appearing which are specific to working with refugee children. One of the cast has apparently left to go to Athens. I have heard such rumours before, but this time it does appear to be accurate. She only has a couple of small roles, so they can be covered, but she is also the sister of our most recent Michael, and he has gone with her. We spent about half an hour coaching him through his part last week, coaxing some life out of his initial woodenness, and now that has to be done again with another young and inexperienced actor. Never mind; I knew that was a potential problem, and moving to Athens is a positive step for both of them.
But today three others told me of news which will prevent them from rehearsing tomorrow. Iqbal, my soldier, has an interview in connection with his status, and he seems more worried that he might be sent back than excited about the possibility of moving on; one can only hope for the best for him. Only in the case of Fatima and Amina, two sisters who play the Queen and a couple of villains, is the news an unqualified blessing, as their mother is coming from Germany to see them, the first time in five years apart. I have been telling them all that the play will be a positive, memorable experience for them, but it pales into insignificance in comparison.
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