Portland

posted in: Hotel Lessons | 0

With Roji ensconced in deepest Dorset, we made the decision that we should have at least one rehearsal down there; a rehearsal over zoom was certainly better than nothing, but also not really relevant for the physical aspect, and dependent, of course, on the technology not letting us down.  Unfortunately, Sasha had something else arranged, and so was unable to come, but the majority of the play centres on the relationship and interaction of Hamed and Roji, so it was still very useful to go down there.

The journey was rather more taxing than I had anticipated, being predicted at just over three hours when we started, and encountering any number of traffic jams.  But, at just about 2 o’clock, we rolled into Portland, picked up Roji (along with a friend of his, another young asylum-seeker from the barge, called Mohammed.)  We found the address of b-side, an arts organisation in town, who had agreed to let us rehearse in their small activity space, were let in and shown around, and set to work.

One development, that we would not have been able to manage over zoom, was the addition of the majority of their costume – a pair of hats (having decided not to go down the traditional and rather stereotyped idea of bowlers); a suit from a charity shop in Thame, split between them; boots for Roji and flip flops for Hamed.

We started on a run. With stops whenever we encountered a section which broke down because of forgetting words, I was actually impressed with the progress the piece has made.  And we were able to add in some details, each one making the piece just that little bit better.  This took quite a while, after which we had a short break for some sandwiches from the shop next door, before embarking on one more run, this time without a break (more or less) and with me taking notes throughout, and passing them on at the end.  We are, I think, very nearly ready.

At the end, we closed up and drove around to see if we could see (and take a picture of) the Bibby, but things have been set up so that the main security gate, through which we could not pass, still has the Bibby out of sight.  And so we said good bye to Roji and Mohammed, and headed back to Oxford.

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