The show must go on… and did!
Despite all of my doubt and despair about ever forming a consistent and committed group of people to be able to perform some theatre, we were there, waiting for the audience to arrive, about to perform. Not that it had been plain sailing all the way. Up until a week before the proposed date, it was not certain that we had the blessing of the hotel, without which we could not go ahead. And there were the usual difficulties with communication with the cast; it took some time before I could confirm that all of them would be there… which was not good for my peace of mind.
But not only did we have our full complement, we had one extra. I had persuaded Amjad, a young Syrian man, to join us. He had been to several classes in the past, including last week’s, so he knew how one of the plays went. He speaks excellent English, so was a most useful addition to the cast. (If truth be told, he also provided back-up in the case of last minute absence.)
We had nearly two hours before the performance to prepare, and I had thought this would be plenty of time: to go through arrangements, to warm up, to practise various sections, especially those where we needed to include Amjad. So when I looked at my watch, and discovered we no longer had time for a full dress rehearsal, we concentrated on the main play, the Story of Destiny, and managed that pretty well.
I had had no idea how many people would come to see it, but actually the numbers were a bit disappointing. We had a few small children along with their generally heavily-masked mothers, but Matilda was there, and she gathered up a few more, and then some others wandered in. And once I had encouraged them to come forward and occupy the best seats, it made for a reasonable number.
I am not really the one to give an objective judgment, because I had to focus on my own role of narrator, but the audience response was enough to tell me that it was going well. There was plenty of laughter, and smiles throughout. There was one interesting incident, when a young guy who had arrived late, joined in with a crowd scene. I had to usher him gently away. His name was Adam, and he had been to one of the classes, so presumably thought that this was what was expected. The cast were professionalism itself, and did not allow this to throw them. And in fact, their entire performance was pretty much flawless. The audience clearly enjoyed it immensely, but even more important, I know that the cast did too, and that was the prime objective.
During the curtain call, I did a shout out for each actor and their origin, so I’ll do the same now: Amjad from Syria, Hamed from Iran, Ali from Sudan, Sherwan from Kurdistan, Abdulaziz from Chad, Jaime from El Salvador, and Aisha from Baluchistan. Well done to all, superstars every one.
And well done Adam.