Shamym and Hamed
Which is not quite right, as there was no actual panic. But we do have the performance at the Migrant Connections Festival in two days’ time, and even though I have made it clear to the organisers that this will very much be a work in progress, and will inevitably be a reading, performance brings its own pressures. I had turned up to the rehearsal with some remaining feelings of hope, if some of the increasingly desperate moves we have made to increase our numbers come off, then maybe…
But actually, those hopes faded. Sherwan came through the door, and I thought for one moment that he had been able to join us after all! But then it appeared he had no good news, was there to tell us that his application for asylum had been denied. Inevitably, he was a little down, but there are still some avenues left for him to explore – appeals and the like – so his situation is not yet desperate. (And actually, even if those attempts fail, where will he be sent? He did aske me to see if I could contact the Red Cross to see if they have any news of his parents in Iraq, and I will do my best, but really I suspect there is little hope on that front.
After which, other news rather paled. Abdulaziz and Ali did not make an appearance, and I did not really expect them to, and their limited English makes it difficult to integrate them into such a wordy piece of theatre. Another previous member of the group had told us several times (including today) that they wanted to be involved in the production, but no show once again today.
Hamed jad brought along a friend, Fariq from Morrocco, with the possibility that he might be able to step in, and he did stay for the rehearsal, and was actually very good, but when he learned what was involved, travelling to Streatham all the way from where he lives, he was forced to withdraw whatever participation we had hoped for. And finally Shamym, the lady who stepped in for me the other week, will almost certainly not be able to attend the performance. Which leaves just four of us.
With Fariq and Shamym joining in, we did run through the material we intend to perform on Saturday, and in the circumstances, it could have gone a lot worse. But what is clear is that we have a challenging period coming up. Numbers are very low, so we need to recruit, but also to integrate people into an existing show. And I am going to be away for four weeks, so we really do not want that to be completely blank. And there is politics, of course; what will happen to the asylum-seekers if the hotel scheme closes.
But there are also possibilities, with the Food Bank keen on us to provide some material for a gala they are holding later this year. And next year, there is interest from a Migrants’ Theatre Festival being held at the Cockpit Theatre. So we need to remain positive and optimistic.