There had been a three-week gap since our last meeting, and this always raised the possibility of a lack of momentum. Still, it was not to be helped, and actually I was pleased that we had a reasonably good turn-out, with only Thomas and Abdulaziz missing from our core group, and with Fereshte, a lady who had come to see the Kensal Rise library show, as a new addition.
However, we spent about an hour talking things through. I had wedding photos to show them (the justification for no class last week) and obviously this provoked a lot of interest. Then we had to make arrangements for next week’s trip to Oxford… or rather, I had to try to co-ordinate them, for they have to organise themselves for this one. And finally, we chatted about what the future held for the group. It is all rather uncertain, as what we do is dependent upon who turns up, and that has difficulties attached. Dasha is pretty much withdrawing from the class, as she has all her time mapped out for her; the good news is that she has been offered an unconditional place at university in London for next term, and that her funding is assured.
(Out of interest, Frishta also has an unconditional place, but that is dependent upon her getting a scholarship, while for Aisha, she needs to pass as important English exam, as well as securing funding.) But their lives are always confused and beset by forces beyond their control; in some ways, it is a miracle that we have survived as long as we have.
But then, with an hour to go, we got on with some practical work. Whie waiting for numbers to stabilise, we need to focus on skills and techniques, so we used a spontaneous improvisation idea, which I call one in, one out, and requires quicjk changes from one scene to another. As such, it was quite a difficult concept, but they made real progress, and all of them grew in confidence. We then moved on to a prepared improvisation concept, in which I give them some starting ideas for a scene, and working in small groups, they have time to develop it. In this case, I gave them: a journey, an umbrella, and some fruit, and one group had the inspired idea of picking strawberries, and then transporting them in an upturned umbrella. Very clever, very entertaining.
During the class, Zeina, a friend of Hamed’s from the food bank, came to join us, to talk about a possible collaborative project, which we discussed at the end of the class. But before that, she was happy to join in, and proved herself very capable.
Another interruption next week, because of the Oxford trip, but such opportunities are just that – opportunities – and not obstacles.