And we start again, only this time with a four-week gap since the last session. Impossible on that basis to build any sort of continuity, but I live in hope that things will soon improve, provided I get the chance to have two lessons on consecutive weeks… that would be nice.
Quite the UN this time around, with nine nationalities spread over about fifteen people – Iran, Libya, Eritre, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria, El Salvador and Baluchistan (Aisha the only young woman there, assured me that it was indeed a separate country, even though illegally occupied by Pakistan.) The time-keeping was also a little better, presumably because the new poster makes a pount of emphasising this, in several languages.
With an almost entirely new group, I was able to re-cycle some material I’d used before. Correction – just about all my material I have used before, many times, but in this case it means from the last two sessions. So we played zip zap boing once again, and they all got it pretty quickly, seemed to enjoy it too. And then on to mime, demonstrating and practising various techniques, and then using each one in a scene of their own devising. Encouragingly, there was much laughter – they seemed to enjoy watching each other perform, and there were some natural clowns. I did need to re-inforce the self-discipline involved in watching without interfering, but that happens with every group – the convention of paying attention to the performers is neither natural nor obvious, and there are many examples when a boisterous interaction between performer and audience is absolutely the norm. But in this case I am trying to build confidence – that they have understood what is required of them, that they have their own contribution, when for many theatre is a largely unfamiliar art-form, that they can survive the scrutiny of their fellow-residents – and so giving them time and space, without interruption or distraction, is important.
But, as with the other two sessions, it was clear that definite progress was being made. Let us have hope that, this time, it can be built on. Roll on next week.
But apologies for the photo, once again devoid of people. It is my own fault; I took my camera, but did not think to use it until everyone had gone. Mind you, there is a clear distrust of cameras; when one appeared during the first session, half the class hid.