The friendly assistant manager told me at the start that there would be two new members of the group joining today. This was good news, of course, but also meant that I had to re-think my ideas for the day. I had thought to start working our way through the script, as there are several new-ish people, who have only seen the odd bit, but I wasn’t sure that it was a good idea to throw complete newcomers into the confusion of following a script. All the more so since Mikhael, one of the newcomers, spoke very little English. So I decided upon another improvisation lesson, but starting with, as ever, a game and some mime. As it happened, Mikhael did not stay long, and the other newcomer, who arrived later, lasted even less time, though both seemed to get on well with the work and seemed to enjoy themselves. Both said they would return, and Mikhael did near the end, then left again. Ah well.
Tried some improvisations based on using a rope, which were all clever and imaginative (especially Nada as a monkey with a banana, and Ali swinging in as Tarzan), while Hamid and Sherwn tried something far more serious – a hanging (especially relevant with current events in Iran.)
But at that point, I had a (small) crisis, as I had not a single idea where to go next, leading to an embarrassing pause. It was because I had changed my plans, and knowing of one alternative idea, but nothing more. Luckily, I was just putting them into pairs, when the idea of statues came to me; a relatively common idea to use with inexperienced actors. And then I was fine, with them moulding each other into dramatic shapes, then a scene where a statue comes alive, and finally, as pictured, a gallery of statues with one human visitor.
That still left me with a little time, so I tried “Freeze!”, the improvisation game. This proved a mistake, however, as they were confused by the previous work, and I had not explained it clearly enough. But they were intrigued all the same, and asked me to try it again next week. Which I shall.
The other really good news is that Hamid has been granted leave to stay, and is now a refugee, not just an asylum-seeker. Azi too, I believe. Luckily, Aisha seems to be unaware at present; she has been waiting a long time, and is keenly aware of the injustice of such a random system.