So here we are at the end of the first week in New York and it’s been swell. Coming here we were all fascinated to see the schools and classrooms where Kappa would be performed. The show is always a surprise for the pupils who think they are going to be doing a workshop with the New Victory Theater staff, but are instead interrupted by Andy Manley running into their class as a slightly mad looking quantum time traveller trying to find his way back home. When he fails to find a doorway to another world in the wall of their classroom he starts to tell the story of how he got there. It was brilliant to see that just as in Scotland the pupils here were totally entranced and amazed at this man who stood on their chairs, slammed across their desks and generally turned their classrooms into another world for the 40 minutes of the story. The only difference being that the kids in New York told us they have lockdown drills for when strange men enter their classroom. We couldn’t help thinking we were fairly lucky not to have been “locked down” as there’s not much stranger than Andy Manley at 8am on a Tuesday morning.
One thing we noticed about the schools we visited, from Harlem to Hoboken, Brooklyn to the Bronx, was the busyness of the classrooms and actually the buildings themselves. Lots of them share their buildings with other schools and one even rented rooms from the local town hall so we had to be very careful not to burst into the wrong room and find ourselves in a management meeting. The pupils had lots of questions for Andy after the shows and most of them agreed he was ‘awesome’ and should definitely carry on acting, but that accent…was it really his?
Needless to say it hasn’t all been work. We’re staying in a brilliant area called Greenpoint, which is full of old Polish ladies and sausage. On our first night we managed to gate crash a sort of private members club in an old Luncheonette and after talking to a lady who all the while kept playing her Tibetan singing bowl we were invited back to the luncheonette for a super hip film night. I can’t wait. I love super hip things, especially involving films.
So, farewell to Kappa stateside and now on to Pondlife. In fact I’m sitting in the lobby of the New Victory watching the front of house staff being briefed and any minute now 60 kids are going to come through the door. And I wonder. I wonder what they’ll think of this story about two boys growing up on a distant and strange island called Britain. And will Andy remember to say ‘soccer’ instead of ‘football’. Fingers crossed.