While the numbers do seem to be shrinking, week by week, it is also the case that there is starting to form something of a reliable group. Though even in that respect, nothing is certain. Eishe is the one reliable young woman, attending three of the sessions, but she came early to tell me she would not be able to be there today. She is volunteering at some sort of community centre, and told me she was tired, and then gave some other excuses. But it was nice that she felt the need to see me first.
Other regulars who came today were Ali, a large Sudanese man (though his story is rather more complicated than that; he seems to have spent a lot of time in Nigeria.) He is quite the natural clown, with a real stage presence, but, like so many, his English is weak, which makes it difficult to communicate with him. Jaime comes from El Salvador, and his grasp of English is a little better; he too has a good presence on stage.
As for the others, as is normal, I had a small group of people I had not seen before. More often than not, such groups come from the same, or neighbouring, countries – a couple of weeks ago, there was a group of Eritreans; today, their counterparts were from Iraq, Iran and Kurdistan – not natural allies, but I suppose their circumstances have pushed them together. They seemed to enjoy the lesson, and improved as it went on, but if they are the same as their predecessors, I probably won’t see them again.
But at least this week I did not have people leaving the session; most weeks, one or two (or more) leave at some point. I try not to allow this to de-rail me. They have every right to leave if they choose; nor do I know the reason. It might be because they are not enjoying what we are doing, but it might also be for something entirely unrelated.
As for the subject matter, I am less and less concerned about creating some sort of progressive syllabus. The people are always random, some having been before, others not, but all at different stages, and having encountered different ideas and skills. We had a look at tableaux, also some work on slow motion, which is always entertaining (and always creates the spectacle of people walking with left arm and leg in sync, same for right – more like a clumsy puppet.)
But I have managed to obtain a list of names and phone numbers, so a WhatsApp group is the next aim.
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