When we performed our first production, Aisha was the only female in the group. Since then, it almost seems as though she has been on a one-woman mission to improve the ratio, introducing a variety of young women from various parts of the world. It is true that mostly, while they have appeared to enjoy the class, for the most part they have not become regular members of the group. However, this week she excelled herself, with not only Frishta from Iran returning, but three newcomers: Nada and Sama, sisters from Saudi, and Fola from Nigeria. Since we also had Mary, a young Eritrean who had been once before, many weeks ago, suddenly we had an overabundance.
There was no Ali again – we remain hopeful that he can be tempted back – and Azi was poorly today, it seemed sensible to abandon the play for today, and go back to a general Drama class. And as usual, I reverted to mime… though in fact the whole class had very good English. We went through the basics, using a ball and a glass (both mimed), and then developed both of these ideas into short improvisations. Like their (slightly) more experienced colleagues, none of the newcomers had ever done anything like this before, but they all took to it like ducks to water, immediately creating interesting and entertaining short scenes.
Then I used an old favourite (when do I not?) of the story of two strangers meeting on a bench, and then a small annoying habit developing into a violent confrontation… while being careful to remind them that this was cartoon violence. The overarching idea is to show the possibility of mime, starting with a realistic situation, which then develops into the absurd and surreal.
There were some great scenes, all of which were enjoyed by both performers and audience. Sherwan and Aisha acted out a great scenario in which a guy stabs a girl, and then asks for her number, which all of the girls found hilarious, but could relate to – “Men!” And there was a moment of triumph when Mary, who had struggled to contain her giggles in the first exercise, produced a great scene with Hamed, eventually shooting him when he wouldn’t stop blowing smoke in her face, and retaining her focus throughout.
So it was a most enjoyable class. Where that leaves us in terms of the play, we shall have to wait until I see who turns up next week, and go from there. As I explained to them, it is entirely their choice whether they decide to come each week, but that there are more possibilities if we have a more consistent group. And I can manage either way.