In the hope that there might be enough people there to require their use, I put together a few simple props to rehearse with. A small glass ball, a pack of cards, and a teacup – to represent three of the objects used by the fortune tellers in the story – as well as a blanket. The fact that two key characters in the particular scene were missing meant we couldn’t actually use them, but still, it wasn’t a waste of time bringing them. The ones who were there – Hamid, Sherwan, and Jaime – were intrigued to see them, and they also provoked a short English lesson, when I told them they were called props in the language of theatre, and of course they used their phones to check, and there was a brief discussion on the difference props in the theatre and props, or supports, in real life. Not that theatre isn’t real life, but you know what I mean. Anyway.
We warmed up with some physical work on characterisation, changing body shapes and the like, using animal ideas, all of which they took to well.
It did mean we could concentrate on the second half of the story, when Youssef, the traveller in the story, meets a succession of people all offering him wonderful opportunities. Youssef (Sherwan) was there, and so we spent some time on his encounters with the Old man (Hamid), and the Priest (Jaime), both of which came along nicely. Sherwan, who lacked confidence at first, is really starting to grow as an actor (though he can still get dreadful giggles.)
And towards the end, we had a new arrival. My apologies, for I cannot remember her name, but she is a young Iranian girl, here with her mother; inevitably, contacts of Hamid. She has been here just one month, and speaks very little English, but she watched what little there was remaining with interest. And so that she would be involved, we played Zip Zap Boing at the end, which she picked up fast. And said (via Hamid) that she was keen to return, though she spoke no English. Which was, of course, of no consequence at all, or so I reassured her.