The book that inspired both this trip and the show that we are developing is the wonderful 'In Arabian Nights' by Tahir Shah, which was quoted in one of our ARAB NIGHTS plays last year. Essentially it is a story-telling odyssey through Morocco, not entirely unlike our own, with Tahir searching for 'the story in his heart'. When we were rehearsing ARAB NIGHTS I contacted Tahir, who is based in Morocco, and we have kept up an email correspondence ever since. So I have been really keen to meet him during our trip. Our timing is perfect because he flies to London on the 10th and agrees to meet us in Casablanca before he leaves. Lahcen was also hugely inspired by the book, and by the theme running through it of a bridge between East and West - which Tahir feels keenly as someone raised in England but with an Afghan heritage. Lahcen shares that bridge feeling with an upbringing half in France, half in Morocco, and is equally keen to meet Tahir. He flies into Casa this evening and will meet us tomorrow, after a night with his parents who live in Casa.
After a breakfast of the round and slightly sweet loaves of bread that you get everywhere in Morocco, fresh from the bakers we discover down a tiny backstreet, we set off. After the relative calm of El Jadida the aggression of Casa and the constant gridlock of beeping traffic comes as a bit of a shock. After several wrong turns and missed exits we eventually meet Tahir who drives with us in convoy through the shanty town in which his renovated mansion - Dar al Kalipha (The Caliph's House - also another of his books which documents its renovation) sits. The house is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen, and over a glass of wine, sat by the swimming pool we discuss story-telling with Tahir and his family. As well as the pool and other luxuries they also have two old pet dogs so Noah is in heaven. And they have a playroom!
That evening we are joined for dinner by his twin sister Safia and her friend Catherine, coincidentally also a twin, as am I and (although he's not at dinner) so is Lahcen. Tahir is thrilled by the strange coincidence and much of the conversation revolves around the magic of twins and twin behaviour. After the other guests have left we stay up late telling stories and talking about the challenges and pitfalls of international and inter-cultural collaboration.