The most encouraging thing about the last two sessions has been the attendance, which was excellent – we really do seem to have a more committed group at the moment. Ever since we began, I have been hoping to find a consistent group, so that we could make progress from week to week, and try to create something a little more sustained and complex. And at last, maybe, we are there.
We are still exploring sketches which reflect somehow on the idea of waiting, and added an idea I have worked on before, “Tick tock.” It is based on a simple clock motif, with four characters announcing Tick and Tock, until one, growing bored of the tedium, tries to inject some variety. I think it could be effective, but it does require a certain subtlety, and could prove devilishly difficult to learn. Still, they seem to be up for trying it.
There are eight performers, so I wanted another scripted piece for the other four to work on, so I have written (or stolen Beckett’s lines) for a sketch based on “Waiting for Godot”. This group does contain Ali and Abdulaziz, who do struggle a little with English, but it also contains some clowning, which ought to suit them both very well. Again, we shall have to see how it goes, and we can reject any idea if it proves too difficult.
The meat of the presentation, however, will need to be those sections which reflect the asylum-seekers’ own experiences and frustrations, particularly those which associate with the basic concept of Waiting. To try and help , I did have a lunch meeting before the actual session with 3 of the participants – Hamed, Aisha, and Frishta. For this, we met at the place where Aisha and Frishta are doing some volunteering, the Mormon church. I was surprised to find the huge modern building almost empty, with just a couple of family groups taking advantage of the warmth and hot drinks, but nobody challenged Hamed and I when we entered, which was somewhat surprising, but we were able to discuss the content of such scenes. (Curiously, as we were leaving, we did run into two of the Church’s young elders, who very much conformed to all of the stereotypes one has encountered.
The session which followed was somewhat hampered by the absences of Hamed, who had an appointment with an advisor, and Frishta, who had a doctor’s appointment, but even so we made some progress with the scenes we are working on. As well as those mentioned, we are exploring the tedium of hotel life, told through a repetitive movement sequence, and backed by Elly Stone’s “Carousel”, a song which starts slowly but gets faster + faster.
As for Godot, we made a start. But the target has to be having at least two of the “refugee” scenes written – they are the heart of the show so cannot be left. But I am very pleased with the group, who have come together to make a most positive and cohesive unit.