It’s been a couple of weeks since I updated my blog, I had got a posting to publish full of random pieces of chat, but as it was out of date decided not to post it. So here we are up to date with a new week.
Monday 30 May – Friday 3 June 2011
Half term arrives and once again The Action Project pops it’s head above the battlements. This week Rachel and myself are staging a travelling circus. The show is a ensemble piece designed to teach the children how to interact with an audience and work on a traverse staging. The theme is melodrama, so we’ll also be making our own silent movies, using larger than normal expressions to move the storyline along.
Cirka No Prata, (the circus of the mind) is meant to be a feared group of Latvian circus folk that visit villages and perform dark and dreadful routines to afraid villagers, who believe it bad luck to not watch the show. The audience on Friday evening shall be our villagers, and the group shall terrorise them accordingly.
The week starts well, the students get an idea of what the show is, however cannot get a grip on the concept of ensemble, and keep asking who the lead character is. Giorgia surprises us with her confidence, it’s great to see how far she has come from the quiet girl that didn’t want to be noticed, to become the self-assured young lady who single handed is strong enough to perform the rap from Plan B’s song She Said alone. All this on a Monday morning at 09.30 with no warm up.
The week progresses as usual, changes are made to the running order and the script. The silent movies are devised, Lowri is filming a homage to Mary Pickford, and her film The Hat. We’re bringing it up to date and the object of the characters desire is a stuffed bear. Luca has devised his own story, ghostly tale with a lingering question, I’ve written a traditional poker game goes wrong scenario, and Ewan wants a custard pie in the face.
Facebook link to movies is here: http://www.facebook.com/bezbaz#!/video/video.php?v=10150193314377187
Thursday sees us move into the new performance venue, where we discover the stage isn’t big enough for the end dance routine. Earlier in the week Nicki had spent a day choreographing the opening and closing dance routines, she also kindly devised an intricate pop and lock routine for the mime in the show.We faff about over the staging and eventually come up with a new way to put on the show, still in traverse but with the some portions of it staged on the floor, this couple with the stairs at the back giving us three different performance levels.
Friday and the show goes really well, the performers freak out the front row of the audience by getting very close and sneering at them during Sally’s solo; a piano version of Lady Gaga’s, Dance In The Dark. Sam (Pash) portrays the sarcastic magician, with gusto and Lowri, as Danjie, the storyteller keeps her audience in check with her barbed tongue. I enjoy my pieces of narration, particularly the odd Latvian phrases; (Even if my accent at times seems to slip from eastern European to west German.)
The finale begins with a group mime, influenced by the French school, it’s performed to Fabri Fibra, an Italian rap artist’s song, VIP In Trip. Rhiannon and Giorgia set the standard high, and each performer that joins the routine match it, Sally hits the high notes in On My Own, from Les Miserables, before the final dance routine to We Are by Toyah explodes.
It’s been a gamble, not performing a known story or at least anything with a linear plot, but everyone has enjoyed it, especially the cast. Oddly enough the piece they liked performing the most was the mime, despite it’s intricacies and rigid performance rules. This said, it was very entertaining, and my favourite part of the show too.
I drive home happy and proud of them all. I know when I move away I shall miss them all, I’m thinking about this as I drive home, just then iPod shuffles and Donne In Amore; my favourite Italian song comes on, maybe it’s a sign that all will be well with the move abroad.
Sunday 5 June 2011 – In readiness for my leaving the UK for a new life in Italy, I had a party. Just close friends, family and some of the parents and students from The Action Project were there.
I spent around seven hours doing prep in the kitchen for the day on the Saturday, and rose early on the Sunday to bake bread, (2 loaves, a sundried tomato and an olive and lemon one.) The morning was taken up making stuffed mushrooms and antipasti, the most time consuming being garlic and anchovy stuffed cherry tomatoes and deconstructed Caprese salad bites, which is a hollowed out cherry tomato, stuffed with mozzarella and a basil leaf and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, (Italian of course).
At 1.00 my mate Dave arrived and gave me a hand setting up the barbecue, in case folks weren’t keen on Italian food, and he set out the chairs in the garden. I made up a jug of Pimms, using the innovative jug we got at Ikea recently, it has a central tube that you put in the freezer, and it fits inside to chill your drink without diluting it, (not a bad buy for £1.50.) So menu complete, people begin arriving with bottles of prosecco etc.
The antipasti is devoured and the mains are ready to arrive, a two meat lasagne, a vegetarian cannelloni, asparagus and gorgonzola gnocchi, porchetta, beef in Barolo and chicken caciatore, all served with Italian style vegetable accompaniments.
The day goes really well, I get given lots of cards and some gifts. Daniel gives me a watch similar to the one’s that he wears. I don’t wear a watch so all the previous week I’ve borrowed one of his, (incidentally he has many colours to co-ordinate each day.) Mine is white with a pink face, and I’m really pleased with it. Lowri gives me the best gift to give me, pink balloons that light up and an iTunes gift card. Methinks the new Poly Styrene album will be on my iPod within days. All of my cards are really nice, and one of the students has written in hers the following: “You’ve been the biggest inspiration to me.” Another reads: “You made me the confident person I am now, thank you for being a good friend.” When you hear things like that it makes all the hard work worthwhile, but what really touches is the word, ‘friend’ rather than ‘teacher’.
There’s a commotion outside and Alison arrives with an assortment of cakes she’s made for the day, within minutes the children are on the chocolate one, parents dive into the strawberry mousse cake, and the carrot cake lasts literally seconds. The centre-piece is an amazing cake she has made for me. The cake resembles a table complete with tablecloth, on it are grapes, a pizza and a bowl of spaghetti with meatballs, all made from sponge and icing. There’s two small Italian flags on the front and in between the words Arrivederci Barry are written. For a rare moment I’m lost for words.
All in all, the day goes really well. Everyone seems to have enjoyed themselves, all that’s left to do is sort the recycling and wash the mound of dishes in the corner…….Hang on, I’ll open another bottle of prosecco, the washing up can wait.