posted in: Ethiopian project | 0

Ascelew and Seyifu

Which has something of a double meaning.  The group certainly are a group of characters, whom I am gradually getting to know.  Including, much to my surprise, many of their names.  I nearly always have to get them to write it down first – I need something to hang onto rather than a fleeting sound.  And it also means I have something concrete to refer to (rather than my increasingly dodgy memory.)

But today’s session was also about characterisation, generally using physical stimuli to generate ideas.  Bibi (as he is familiarly called) took the warm-up; once again it took the form of call and response, with some energetic movement to accompany it, and was both great fun and most effective.  I am only too aware that I am never fully committed to warm-ups, despite being aware of their importance… in a theoretical sense, at least.  But Bibi really got us all moving.  And he then took them through some basic characterisation techniques, which I was relieved to see were ones I already knew: leading with a particular part of the body, such as the nose or chest, to provoke further characterisation ideas. 

At which point, it was time to put some of those ideas into practice.  Next week, we need to start on the script, for we only have three weeks, and so I need to cast the play this weekend.  Which meant that this session was something of an audition.  In fact, all three sessions have been a form of audition; immediately I see someone working, I am thinking about who they might play.  Though this has its downside, for I have already had to change one of my casting notions, when the two girls in question had to withdraw because of clashes with school commitments.  But this session was a slightly more formal process, in that I was watching them act, and most importantly talk, and then, if not exactly taking notes, recording their names for each scene.  Beze (Bibi’s wife) was videoing the majority of the scenes, so I also have the option of re-watching their scenes to firm up my choices.

Endale and Meaza

Everyone had two scenes to prepare and perform.  The first was a master/servant scenario (with my usual twist of a final reversal); the other was more open-ended, but had to include the notion of selling.  And both provided a good deal of entertainment, as well as giving me food for thought.  And we concluded with Bibi’s finale, which really does have the effect of bringing everyone together in a joyful manner.

In a spirit of inclusion, I also ought to reference the one slightly negative aspect of the day, at least from my point of view.  Bibi had a conversation with Alazar at the end of the session, and then passed this on to me.  It was, inevitably, about money.  I do understand.  We are using the film school’s premises, and this needs to be paid for.  There are the issues I mentioned in my appeal, of providing transportation funds, some catering.  And we talked about production issues, such as costume, all of which will have to be paid for.  And there was mention of Alazar, and of Bibi himself, and their time.  All of which was a little bit depressing.  It is not as if I do not understand the situation, but the sum mentioned is a total of $1000, which is a bit more than I have raised.  (And I have to say I doubt that that is the end of it.)

I will have to try to raise a bit more, I suppose, though I have my doubts as to whether that is possible.  And it is a little bit depressing that filthy lucre should raise its head.  But I must try not to let it get me down, for in all other respects the project is a roaring success.  So far, at least.  That’s one week down, three to come.


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