Two performances today, though they could scarcely have been more different. In the afternoon, we performed to the Safe Zone kids, unaccompanied minors who have recently arrived on Lesvos, housed at Moria Camp in the first instance, in the hope that they will soon be moved on, either to Athens or to supervised housing in Mytilini. Gekko has provided afternoon lessons for these young people for some time.
Being a matinee performance, there were a couple of necessary alterations. Most notably, no live music, as James and Iman were otherwise engaged. We also had no young Michael, as Bashir was away on a trip, but Hossein Ali slipped seamlessly into the role, a remarkable achievement for a previously shy and reserved young man. More positively, as the audience was almost exclusively Afghan, I encouraged the cast to use Farsi as much as possible, and I very much enjoyed this new perspective.
Far less positive was the response of the audience. I should have anticipated this, as young people everywhere are far keener on seeing their peers mess up, and these young Afghans were no different. They did all they could do, in a fairly surreptitious way, to disrupt the performance – even trying to trip the dancers – and it is to the cast’s great credit that they were consummately professional. When they came off, however, most of them were black with anger – “Animals!!”
It was a totally different story in the evening, with an absolutely packed house, and people queuing up an hour in advance in order to get to see it; somehow, we squeezed everyone in. The cast responded with absolutely their best performance yet, virtually faultless, and rightly provoking a standing ovation at the end.
This was to be the final performance, but because of the demand, we are putting on an extra performance tomorrow. I don’t think I have ever had such a hit, which is nice for me, but even better for the cast. They deserve every cheer.