Attendance was good this week, and even punctuality – long a bugbear – was also much improved. But it was disappointing that Carla, who had been so promising last week, was not able to attend, with another appointment getting in the way. There is very little time, but I still hope she will come next week, so that she can be involved in the performance.
Ali turned up a little late, but seemed distracted, and in the end just left. On occasion he can be very temperamental – I think it I frustration at his lack of English as much as anything – and ultimately it was difficult to know whether or not he would still be a part of the performance. It is one of the frustrations of working with this group, of course, but also just adds to its unique quality. At times I feel I am not so much running a Drama class as operating a drop-in centre (equally valuable, of course, perhaps even more so.) Which does make it difficult to put together work which builds from session to session. Like a performance, for example.
I did go through a couple of ideas to improve the detail in the group scenes, but then we ran through the show. Virtually all of the scripted duologues which punctuate the play were pretty ropey, but this was probably just as well, to remind people they needed to do some work on them. And we recruited Alem to be a stand-in Ali if necessary.
In some ways, the group is stronger than it has ever been. Numbers are good, and there are some most talented individuals. But maintaining attendance, commitment, etc are real challenges, especially when the circumstances of the participants are so uncertain. It is clear that, at some time in the near future, the whole hotel for asylum-seekers programme is likely to be wound up. And at that point, either Zhvan too will come to a close, or it will evolve. Interesting times.