Arrived to find the room partially decorated – well, one big cluster of balloons – and then a group of ladies and small children arrived, hoping to continue blowing up balloons for a small child’s birthday party later today. They were a little concerned to discover me, but we managed to more or less share the room for the next hour or two (though eventually we Drama people moved out into the adjacent dining hall for the last part of the session.) The room does host various activities – sometimes prayer, or an English class, or a meetings room, or a social area, or a dining room annexe… Quite takes me back to Drama lessons in a school hall, working around dinner ladies sweeping up sandwich crusts.
No Ali today again, and no Alem, so a bit thin on the ground. It means the rehearsal has no structure, just doing whatever we can with whomever is there, and very little focus. For the rest of the time, we are as much a general social group as anything, chatting about their situation, their frustrations…
But we did manage to do some work on the new scene – a group sketch which riffs on two competing queues, with one person (Thomas) always finding himself in the slowest and most frustrating. We could do with having more people involved, as everyone except Tom plays more than one character, but they do seem to be enjoying it, and I think it more or less works. We did have a new person join us for a while, a trans person called Tulsi, who lives in the Best Western. He is a Tamil from Malaysia (another country to add to the list) and he was persuaded to play one small role in this scene, but there is little point on building him permanently into the performance until we see that he continues to turn up; there are still a lot of people who turn up just for the one session.
The class finished early, as first Dasha and then Aisha and Frishta had to leave early; increasingly, it is proving difficult to find a time when all of us can be focused on the class.
But to bring the subject once more round to parties, we were able to confirm that all of them there today will be coming to my own celebration at the end of the month; just a case of working out the logistics of getting them to (and from) Ickford.