I am hoping that today marks something of a change with the group; more specifically, a step-up. To some extent, it is because of chance. Last Thursday, I was on my way to the session in London when I was caught up in dreadful traffic on the M40 – the road was completely closed, I was sat in stationary vehicles, and even when we did start moving again, all the cars were diverted onto the tiny roads of Buckinghamshire, with yet more delay and chaos. So in the end, I gave up, emailed my apologies, and went home.
However, not wanting to miss the class altogether, I rearranged it for the following Monday, which also gave me the opportunity to arrive a little early, call in at the Advanced English class – held in a Community Centre in Wembley – and give the class a bit of a plug. Robin, the teacher there, knew I was coming, and was most welcoming – he even came to the class himself. Along with a good number of his students. There was some mild administrative panic, arranging for those at the class who weren’t resident at the hotel still to be allowed to come, but with some frantic last-minute emailing, that was arranged.
And so, the class. About 20 of us, in total. Started with Grandma’s footsteps, to introduce the idea of tension involved in Dramatic irony (the audience knowing something the characters cannot see) and then inviting the class to work in pairs on variations of this idea. Quite a subtle concept, and I was concerned that it might prove too sophisticated, but I need not have worried – just about every scene was varied and with terrific dramatic power. The woman who spotted the man approaching her by seeing him in her make-up mirror. The man who called softly to the office-worker from the doorway, but she couldn’t (or wouldn’t) respond, so he went away – almost tragic. The couple reunited after a long wait. The mother with her sleepy, grumpy child. The man making the audience complicit by holding his finger to his lips. And several others, each one with something to note and praise.
And then we went back to The Boy Who Cried Wolf. The few of us who had worked on it during the previous session first showed what we had done, and then we involved the rest of the class as villagers. It was mildly chaotic, but hugely enjoyable. And came to a conclusion with the Wolf (Luis from El Salvador) utilising the idea of approaching from behind to create tension.
I think that very nearly everyone had a good time; there was lots of laughter, as well as real appreciation of each other’s contributions. All I have to hope now is that people keep coming.