Well, beware of cries of breakthroughs – at least, premature ones. Much smaller numbers today, and a smaller group of people. I had also set us quite a difficult lesson today, working on the physical theatre concept of people as things, playing doors, trees, furniture. Which only works when the participants also get the idea that these objects have personality. Tried out some reasonably successful exercises – as always, I am reassured when there is a certain amount of laughter – but it proved far more difficult when I tried to apply it to the opening of Red Riding Hood, creating first a cottage, then the woods, then the forest. Which is a lot to take in at one time, and I should have remembered how tricky it is to go through the early stages of such physical scenes. Even so, I was a little frustrated.
I had hoped to be able to cast someone other than Taiba as Red – she already has a very similar role in The Boy Who Cried Wolf – but there did not seem to be a sensible alternative. We were also able to welcome back Ali, the hugely charismatic guy who has been missing for some weeks. And gave him a first try at being the Wolf. Unfortunately, his lack of English meant he was not really able to grasp what was required of him, and he withdrew – always a pity when I give someone something with which they cannot cope.
Ultimately, therefore, from a personal point of view, something of a disappointment, and all the more so after what had been a very successful class.
And the next lesson, I was back to just a few – six, reducing to four part-way through when Amjad and his mother Akram had to withdraw – they had received a phone call, so I presume had an appointment to attend. Tried the lesson on slow-motion once again – it seemed that no-one remembered doing this before, so maybe I was just lucky. There were some entertaining scenes – a couple of races, which are always full of potential. And tried to introduce the idea that slow-motion and other devices were a way of sanitising, even mocking, violence. But I also tried to convey to them that dealing with such a subject had to be their choice. Rather a subtle concept, so I don’t know how successful it was.
Completed the lesson by sharing some cake with them; after all, it was my birthday! Another plus was to get to know Hamed, from Iran, who told me his story. He is a very nice man, and seems to be a loyal attendee, even though he has to come in from another nearby hotel.