Kafka, Beckett, etc

posted in: Hotel Lessons | 0

It appears that the Home Office have taken up permanent residence in the room we have been using since I started working here, the only room suitable for activities – English classes, and the like, as well as our Drama class.  (Though as I have mentioned before, it also serves as a prayer room for the security staff, an overflow dining room, a repository for returned laundry, and sundry other functions, so I don’t know where they have now been moved to either.)  For ourselves, we sort of took over a part of a large open area which serves both as a social area and the only way in to the cafeteria.  So not exactly private.

Though this does have its entertaining side.  During this week’s session, Hamed was in the middle of performing a short improvised scene which involved him peering over a wall, and calling out, in English.  A group of three young women went past, and one of them said, “Let’s kick him off the wall!” to her friends in Farsi, not knowing that Hamed was Iranian and so understood what they were saying.  Roji thought this was hilarious.

I thought for a moment that our Kuwaiti friend from last week was going to join us, but he was just coming to say hello when his phone rang and he had to go.  Just like last week.  Only quicker.  But sort of unsettling, lie our own little piece of Kafka.

It looked as though it was just going to be Hamed and Roji today, with none of the Iranian women coming along this time – I don’t know why.  This would not have been the worst thing in the world, since it would have given us the chance to concentrate on the Godot script.  But as it happened, we were also joined by our old friends Ali and Abdulaziz.  Since I needed to include them, and since their English is pretty basic, I switched first to old favourite zip, zap, boing, just to give me time to think, and then we did some basic mime stuff.  The old wall technique was first (it was this which led to Hamed’s scene), and enabled Roji and I to come up with a magnificently surreal and gory scene in which he chops off my hand and starts to eat it. We then moved on to some rope improvs, and here Ali and Abdulaziz excelled themselves with a series of clever and funny scenes.  One of them, Ali got Hamed to film and he has posted it on Tik-Tok.  I’ll see if I can give you a link.

I did want to move on to the next couple of pages of Godot – I am adding two sides of A4 each week, editing it as I go, so want to continue making progress.  Ali and Abdulaziz were happy enough to sit and watch, as we first read through the new script, then ran through the four pages we now have, blocking it for movement, and adding some basic direction, as regards the underlying emotions at various moments.  I am really pleased with them both, and they work very well together, as a pair of natural clowns.  It was also most encouraging that our small audience also seemed to appreciate the comedy. 

Whether we are able to do anything with this, I have no idea.  The Beckett estate is notoriously picky about what you are allowed to do with the play, but if we were to perform it for Refugee Week. which is what I would like to do, then I will need to get permission.  Still, that bridge is a long way off, and the road to it full of pitfalls, so no crossing required just yet

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