Thursday, 22 October 2009
Club Romania Drinks are Free...Fun and Sunshine, There's Enough for Everyone
In between acting work, I am doing rather a lot of teaching at the moment, teaching acting that is or the uses of drama or various acting techniques and this week I had the pleasure of visiting a school that made me laugh...in a good way.
As is the usual policy here, I will not name the school, needless to say it in the Leyton area of London and I was there to offer a morning of drama workshops exploring the idea of peer pressure (not the in the good sense, ie: the epic scale of peer pressure that holds us all together as humans but the school sense of peer pressure: the many forcing the few to do things they don't want to).
Slightly rambunctious at first but soon set to order when I waded in with some tough discipline, the sessions were going very well, with students producing good work using Augusto Boal's classic exercise on repression: 3 people marching and 1 person dancing; with the aim of the 3 to stop the 1 by any means necessary.
All fine and dandy, until that is the final class of the day came in, nothing untoward at first until I asked them to get into groups and then, the usual fuss aside, I noticed one of the groups was chattering in a langauge I did not recognise.
The teacher, who was a real legend after outing himself as gay and fat while we discussed the homophobic tactic of boys making other boys feel less than them by accusing them of being 'a poof', noticed my confusion and simply said...
"This is Club Romania."
It turns out that a lot of Romanians are coming to live in Leyton and that this school has become a favourite to send young Romanians to, as they bond together, strength in numbers I suppose but the teachers labelling of them as "Club Romania" should have felt wrong but in the context of his style and how they behaved, it was entirely appropriate.
Got me thinking about where you draw the line when working with young people. I'm teaching a lot in mainly Muslim schools at the moment and some cultural elements that I witness really annoy me and seem to hold the children back from engaging and learning, especially the female students who are consumed by a performance of piety and shyness and I struggle to balance my own politics with the demands of my work.
Oh well, at least at Club Romania...
"All that's missing is the sea but don't worry, you can suntan!"