So, we ventured off to our final workshop this morning. Full of excitement from yesterday and with rehearsal and improvements well underway. The sun came out to greet us on our last full day.
It's understandable that after so many days with such great experiences there was going to be a session that was more difficult, and that was today. A combination of miscommunication and assumptions got the better of all of us. As we arrived, already very late, we were held up for lots of reasons - one of which being Matt, Lu and Marius going to check out another venue because of an Indian wedding that was going on next door that we didn't want to disturb. In the end we went outside.
Seeps, who seemed to be organising the event was very anxious and even though we were running very late wanted to make sure we got a picture of the whole group together and that we should let them perform for us. We were treated to more songs and more dances by some of the smallest children - but it wasn't the group we had expected and we knew the forum was going to be difficult.
As the group started work all together Matt, Lu, Marius and I drove over to the Stable Theatre to see a final dress rehearsal of a piece of theatre we had been invited to and meet Caroline Smart, who runs lots of arts events in Durban.
The project, which is lottery funded was a dance piece with able bodied and disabled young people where they explored communication through dance. Some of the performers were also from the local school for the deaf so there was sign language incorporated as part of the routine.
A large part of the performance also looked at the large Indian influence in Durban and explored these two different cultures through traditional Indian dance and more contemporary styles.
One girl, Danielle who was in a wheelchair was a main focus of the show and the professional dancer turned her smallest movements into a routine they could share. The inclusivity of everyone involved was wonderful and reminiscent of Amici Theatre I have seen before through Tina at St Mary's.
It was also gat to see such a wonderful, organic venue - much better equipped and resourced than the previous places we've been too but still with a real charm about the work and the setting.
On the drive back I talked to Lu, Marius and Matt about the Berea area we were in and there was some confusion over where we were taking Matt to meet Sonny who he is interviewing as part of the Robben Island Bible project. Marius explained that many street names have been changed since the apartheid as their names have connotations of the leading figureheads. Of course this has come up against a huge amount of resistance and Marius explained that businesses have lost lots of money changing their address only to be told the street names will revert to their original titles.
When we returned to the community centre it was evident the students had had a difficult time. They'd found it really difficult to connect with this group as they had the others and as a result the work hadn't been as in depth, as well as having to work with a very large age group and a group resistant to do Drama. As well as that the group wanted to perform for us all the time - singing and dancing and poetry. All of which was brilliant, but we were trying to work with a structure that didn't seem to fit in.
There were some successes, it wasn't a horrible day. 2 groups managed to create and perform a piece of forum theatre to the rest of the group and people willingly intervened and worked came up on stage. But overall, there was a feeling of being a bit deflated. But we have achieved so much in our time here and even though this was a difficult group we still managed to create some work and engage the students in the forum-ing process. If this had been day 1 we probably would have seen this as a successful day.