Frying pans and mirrors

posted in: Hotel Lessons | 0
Danyal’s brother, Roji, Danyal, Hamed

As is often the case, the ideas I had had for the class this week proved not to be viable. For quite a while it was just Roji and me – Fatehas, the other regular attendee, was ill – but that was fine, for I get on well with him, and it gave us the chance to have a chat.  He is a very nice man with a great sense of humour, and so far as I am concerned those are the two qualities that matter most.  Hamed arrived after a time, and then Danyal and his brother (I have not seen his name written down, so can’t get it out of my head.)  We did start with the warm-up I had intended and prepared for, producing my prop: a small frying-pan.  The (well-used) exercise was to pass the pan from one person to another, and each time demonstrating it as something else, eg a mirror, a tennis racquet, a lollipop.  Everyone cottoned on very fast, and were very imaginative: it was a mask, a guitar, a ladle, a gun, a frisbee, and, with increasing surrealness, a surfboard, a baby, a girlfriend.  Hugely entertaining.

It was while we were playing this that Joe arrived, and joined us.  Joe is 11, Egyptian, and here with his dad, his mother and sisters being back in Egypt.  He is also, I later discovered, something of a challenge in the hotel, and it was clear that he has some issues, with attention and focus, but who knows what he has been through.  On the other hand, I do not have to live with him, but actually he responded pretty well to the class.  He joined in with the game, learned to take his turn, and came up with some creative ideas (though slightly disturbingly, two of them were as something to pee and poo in).

When that game came to a natural end, I was at something of a loss as to what to do next, so resorted to the stand-by of a mirror exercise – interesting and challenging enough in itself, but also as a way to encourage Joe to focus.  We were in pairs with him as my partner.  And he was fine, once I got him to slow down and not try to make it impossible to follow, let alone mirror, him.  From there, I asked each pair to develop the idea of someone looking in a mirror into a story in which there is some magic.  I liked Hamed and Danyal’s scene especially, really quite a sophisticated piece in which the two became friends.  But Joe did well in this; he had enjoyed the prospect of performance, and did well in remembering the sequence of events.  And next week, Joe tells me he will be in school.

I was pleased with the lesson.  They are a small group, but very talented, and most likeable.  We will have to sort out some theatre for them to have the chance of performance.

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