I’ve not had much time this week to contribute to my blog, as it has been Action Project week. The project is a week of drama for children aged from 5 to 14. We work on a performance piece all week, and deliver it to an audience on the Friday evening. This is my last one as director, as I shall be making the move to Italy.
This time we are using the music of Lady Gaga and the play shall be set around a dance studio. We will be looking at the themes in the fable, Beauty and the Beast. I have decided that the part of the beast shall be played by a girl. In the story the Beast is a monster, I don’t want that I just want the character to be different in some way. In the story Belle falls in love with the Beast despite his being horrid to her and everyone around him. So I have gone out on a limb and decided the character shall be disabled. It’ll be a way of looking at prejudice and how love overcomes all.
Day one, I drive to collect our choreographer Becky; yes, of Operation JJ fame. Tiziano Ferro shuffles with ‘Peverso (Melodica Remix)’ as I make my way through the near deserted streets. You can tell it’s half-term the traffic is sparse to say the least. I am blocked from turning into one street by a white van parked across the junction. Two other drivers are confused by this piece of strange parking. A tubby man in a high visibility vest emerges from a newsagent, a copy of The Sun under his arm and a half eaten KitKat in his hand. “I just nipped in to get a paper, mate,” is his response to the driver of a Citroen that questions the barmy parking.
The students arrive, and are soon up for the idea of the show. We are also making a film, and one of our talented young ladies, Lowri has been working on a theme for it. Lowri, wants us to be filming a series of Big Brother, but all the housemates are fairy tale characters. After a discussion about which characters we shall have in the film, I set about looking at the performance piece with the others as Lowri spends some time scriptwriting.
Lowri shall be playing the part of Isabel, a girl in a wheelchair, and Brodie will be playing the part of the boy who falls in love with her. Day one ends with a game of drop ball, and the first third of the play blocked and under our proverbial belts. I drive home with the iPod playing Placebo’s cover of the Boney M classic, ‘Daddy Cool’
Day two and Becky, shows the students the routine to the first dance. ‘Monster’, the boys groan but we show no mercy, they will dance. And they turn out to be fabulous. We block some more of the play and in the afternoon begin filming.
The week continues in split days of filming and rehearsal. Becky comes up with a wonderful dance routine to Gaga’s ‘Speechless’, for Brodie and Lowri, that has me in tears no matter how many times I see it.
Friday arrives, and the performance goes without a hitch. The students are superb and the message; Love is Enough is well received. I find it difficult to deliver my parting speech, and like a big gayer I cry. It will be hard leaving these wonderful children. I have spent so much time being with them over the last three years, they have become like family, and I really do love them all.
I drive home with ‘Deeper than Love’ by Antony and the Johnsons, which shuffled forward, as if sensing my mood. A few glasses of wine are sipped, as I watch the first of the Stephen K Amos shows on BBC2, the show is disappointing and humourless, or maybe it’s just difficult to laugh at the moment.
Saturday morning arrives, and at 08.40 I get a video call from Georgia on Skype. She says she loved the show last night. I tell her I haven’t packed yet. As we’re leaving for Italy today, she tells me to get on with it then.
And what about the Nazi cat? Rachel has a cat called Delilah, and whilst she was taking it’s photograph, the cat struck an unfortunate pose. Delilah looks like she’s a feline member of Hitler youth.
The iPod is on shuffle as usual, and as ‘Master of the House,’ from Les Miserables begins to play I set about packing for my next 18 days in Casoli, Italy.