Apologies that there has been an absence of posts just recently. I have, in truth, been quite busy with various events, not least my daughter’s wedding, and then appearing for two weeks in Romeo and Juliet in Oxford. But actually, though the classes have continued to run, it has all been remarkably low-key. We have lost some of our strongest performers, either because they have moved on in their lives, such as Dasha and Frishta, who have both been accepted for and scholarships for their college courses, or because they have somehow lost interest, such as Thomas and Ali. However, while there is still enough of a demand for what I do, I will keep the class running.
We have started to look at creating a new performance, and both Aisha and Hamed are keen for the work to be about their experience as asylum-seekers, so we are starting to look at the idea of Journeys, focusing specifically on their journey to England – why it came about, and then how. And since to some extent this physical journey also mirrors the story of their lives, we have begun by looking at some of their stories from their childhood. It is most interesting that, so far, both the stories we have been told, and have looked at in a theatrical sense, also reflect the motivations and ethos of that person. Not a particularly inspired observation – the child is father to the man, after all (and mother to the woman), but still it is remarkable to have that demonstrated so clearly.
Aisha’s story, of a small girl playing in a muddy pool, also marks her out as a rebel, one who is reluctant to accept society’s strictures; while Hamed, telling how as a small boy he stole from a local shop, yet went back the following day to pay for what he had taken, reflects his strong sewnse of right and wrong.
I interviewed both of them about their escape from their home country, (and subsequently, have done the same thing with Tulsi), and it was, as you can imagine, harrowing and tense – the challenge will be to bring those stories to some sort of theatrical life in as simple as way as possible, yet which still reflects the tension, the fear, the despair. We have been contacted by an organisation organising a migrant festival in September, so that might provide an opportunity to share our ideas, at whatever stage they have reached by then.