Azi was not able to be with us today, as she had an appointment with a solicitor, so I had already almost decided that, once again, we would not be working on the script. In fact, I was feeling pessimistic about putting it on at all, in particular because of the absence of Ali. There was no other obvious candidate to play Charles the wrestler, and though this is not a big part, it is an important one in terms of setting the scene.
So we began with some of the usual warm-ups and games, moving on to some improvisation. At which point Ali came through the door! Quite a result; it seems that he had been worried about the lines involved in his other role, that of William. I had tried hard to make it manageable for him, so that effectively he just said “Oh Phebe” quite a lot, but actually this just made the whole thing even more confusing. So when I had passed on the message that he would not need to play that role, that seemed to make the difference.
I still continued with the lesson, which started off with quite a lot of work to do with doors, demonstrating the mime involved, and then using this idea as a starting point for some short scenes. And then, reprising an old idea from 6th form lessons on Stanislavski, we used a real door, each person making some sort of entrance into the room (or exit from the world outside the door), but keeping it as real as possible.
Next was to use the doors of a car, and, working in a bigger group, tell the story of a journey. Except one group chose a bus instead – the inspiration for the picture above.
We finished with some spontaneous improvisation, and my old favourite, crossing the circle (one person having to invent, on the spot, a reason to prevent someone walking past them), and they were surprisingly good, all the more so since they were having to improvise in a second language.
It had been a good lesson, but I am encouraged now that we have sufficient numbers to re-start rehearsals next week. Always a challenge, working on a script, but if you want to work towards a performance, you need to rehearse. And as Hamid says, “We need to have a purpose.”
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