We're a little over a week from performance, and I'm surprisingly laid back about it. There's still a way to go, but the kids have done a very good job on those lines - the speaking, the understanding and the learning - and have got to the stage where they get creative, and start developing ideas that are entirely their own. Characters are coming to life with the energy I've been driving for, but the perceptions, ideas, movements and mannerisms are coming from the actors. Now that I've convinced them that their scripts are not extensions of their arms, their feet are not nailed to the stage, and that they have to play with their roles to discover their possibilities, they are beginning to fly with it. I love this stage!
I will confess to early doubts about the practicalities and merits of doing an almost complete Shakespeare production with students who had little experienceof theatre, and less of Shakespeare; and that's before we get onto the issue of English as a second language for several fourteen-year-olds in the cast. Reader, my doubts have been pushed aside by the enthusiasm and sheer determination of these lovely people. Not a wastrel or drama queen among them, but a great deal of talent and good will.
We had a full run yesterday - all in school at the weekend from 6 to 9p.m. They were obviously tiring towards the end, but kept right on going. We had another full run today, now that we know we can! They're relieved (as am I) that there's no rehearsal tomorrow because I have a meeting, and that Tuesday is the preliminary costume parade. They get to fix dodgy lines or cues before the next rehearsal on Wednesday, and the technical rehearsal on Thursday: I get to work with a group in class to fine-tune some work that's half-way to excellent; and oversee some fiddly costume details. I have not brought work home tonight. All I'm going to do is knit, watch some TV if there's anything worth watching (Dharma and Greg was the one with Penn & Teller, when Teller was Mr Boots - deeply wierd!) and have a warm bath followed by an early night.
Today I officially moved our open air show into the theatre. It's a shame, but the temperature is not falling, and the humidity has picked up again and stayed high for a week. We drip! And flies love dripping humans. I really did swallow a fly last week. OMG!
The kids have braved it all, but this is supposed to be theatre, not circuit training, so it's time to get realistic. The flats are being moved inside at 7.30 tomorrow morning, and the tickets are being re-done without reference to the Annexe courtyard. I'm sure the senior students will be relieved too, although they didn't hesitate when I asked if we could use their Common Room as our dressing room, and run music through their new stereo and fab speakers. They usually organise pizza in the interval, as a fund raiser for their prom, and this will also be less hassle inside than out.
The good news is that from seating 200 a night, we can now accommodate 500, so tomorrow I shall put the word out to other schools. Some will come for pleasure, others because it's Shakespeare and A Good Thing, and others because they have to write critical reviews as part of their coursework and at 15Dhs, this is a hell of a lot cheaper than Madinat Jumeirah. As long as they come!