Finishing what We Started

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August 8th was an extraordinary day here in Mikro Papingo.

I woke up at 8:00am sharp to discover a miracle of sorts: 71 large mosquito bites covering my legs, arms and neck. (This is an exact count, not an exaggeration.) This was the first extraordinary event of the day. I consider it extraordinary because never before have I experienced itchiness to this degree.

After scratching my way down the mountain to our rehearsal space, I was, along with my apprentice company, greeted with a wonderful warm up treat. Rather than the usual series of stretches, compressions and body shakes lead by Natalie, we were instructed to massage each other for the majority of the warm up period. This was the 2nd extraordinary event of the day because with the stress of mounting a show in a language unfamiliar to all, in spaces foreign to all, and with 4 different casts, the massages that started our day were exactly what we all needed.

After the warm ups we continued to work on our show. After an hour or two of work we finally reached the end of the play, ending the 2-week process of staging Six Seeds. This marks the third extraordinary event of the day.  While this was a joyous moment for our cast, it also marked a turning point in our time here. It suddenly began to sink in that we are actually going to perform this show and that however much we don’t want to believe it, this process is resulting in a product which we will soon have to share. Until now we have been able to use our scripts like a crutch, leaning on our phonetic translations to push our way through. Now with the shows looming in the distance we are all attempting to get off book, which is proving challenging.

Memorization is a muscle that actors are used to and good at using. However we are discovering that memorizing a text in a language that is not our own uses a completely different muscle, which means that the process is tedious at best. The amount of time that I’ve spent memorizing 4 or five sections of text would be enough time to learn the part of Hamlet and then some. Every line in Greek seems to take 10 times the amount of time to learn as a line in English would. Now that we have blocked the show and are in the process of running it, everyone is facing hurdles that we have until now avoided. That being said the show we have is working and I think will be a wonderful gift to the villages in this area.

Side note, the pink stuffed poodle in our play has been cut and will no longer be playing the part of Cerberus. I will be stepping in to play the part of Cerberus. Thankfully Cerberus has no lines, just barking.

— Devin

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