Final day of week 2 and my objective is to see some development and end on a high with some fun. The main thing that stands out for me today is their confidence. When I think back to Day 1 when they were shy and nervous compared to today - dancing with them in a round of musical chairs. I play a mix of Arabic and English songs, ranging from hip hop to the Beatles and ask them to dance according to the mood - just let your bodies go, be free. They were into the competition aspect of it more than the dancing and being free, but what the hell, we had a good laugh. Fatima, who is 4 months pregnant and was very quiet during the first days, is suddenly class clown, pulling some hilarious and rather provocative dance moves.
I realised why I am shocked when they tell me their age and how many kids they each have - it’s because their behaviour in that room is so wonderfully playful and childlike, I can’t imagine them with the responsibilities they have.
I focus on voice projection for the first half, to encourage the quieter amongst them to speak up, knowing that next week they will most likely be looking at the text.
The second half is movement - the exercise we didn’t manage to finish yesterday. After a brief warm up, I set them their task and away they go. Each group presents their finished piece of 5 simple movements that they have to perform at exactly the same time in exactly the same manner, as though they are one person. The director comes in to watch, and miraculously silence occurs in the room! Each group does exceptionally well with utter focus and determination. Misson accomplished - we end on a huge high.
After the workshop, a couple of girls come to me “Dina, can you ask the men to leave and play some music?” But it’s time for a break. “We know, but can’t you just play some music really loud so we can dance and let go? Some of us don't want a break we want to dance.” I love it.
Others are concerned, having received a copy of Antigone yesterday and taken it home to read, that there aren’t enough parts for everyone - “does that mean they will decide who is good and who isn’t and we'll get kicked out?” I assure them that that isn’t the case and explain the greek tragedy convention of chorus - suddenly the penny drops as to why they are working together in groups so often. They thought it was to get fit!
Day off tomorrow so I’m jumping on a bus to Byblos to explore some ancient ruins.