Week Six: Eli Lower

Phew, what a week! Keen to get back into the swing of New Voices, it was a scrum this afternoon to get into the drama studio, drop our bags, and get straight to it. Excitingly, today was our first session welcoming our brilliant playwright Adam into the room, so we needed a couple of warm ups to remind each other of everyone’s names (and to showcase some of the team’s abilities to be very sneaky dancers!).

Once we were sufficiently warmed, we used our bodies to physically recreate several scenes – an abandoned classroom, a dusty attic…. but with a catch. Three members of the group had to leave the room while the rest of us built the world, becoming bins, computers, spiders, and more. Then, they re-entered, and by tapping each person on the head to hear a quick phrase – “my legs hurt!” – they tried to decode the scene. As it got harder, the detectives were allowed one question. Since the one question on everyone’s lips, “What are you?”, was forbidden, they had to settle for things like “Why do your legs hurt?” which soon revealed enough to show that Leah, whose legs hurt from being sat on all day, was a classroom chair! This game gave us all great practise at being inanimate, or non-human objects, which set us up perfectly for the next exercise.

Being carefully observed by Adam, we then went off to create characters of our own. This really gave our young people time to shine, as they came up with suggestions like surfer scarves, globetrotting eagles, and Justin Bieber’s horse-mother! Then we paired up to ask each other questions about our characters – the most important being, “if our characters met, would they get along?”, which got an almost resounding “yes!”. (One student wasn’t so sure about being friends with Jacob’s character, but he was a smelly apple core who lived in a compost bin, so who can blame them?!) All of the characters that were created were absolutely fantastic, and it was lovely to see our young people really get into the details, creating families, hopes and fears, and thinking of creative names.

After the session was over, we chatted to Adam about where to take the project from here, and we can just tell now that with his input the project is only going to get better. We’re now able to start thinking about how to build the scenes, explore characterisation, and even have inklings about what we might want to do with the set!

As we gear up towards the show on the 20th, it’s going to be so exciting to see our ideas develop from this embryonic stage into a fully-fledged narrative to be performed to an audience at the Tobacco Factory! Bring on next week!

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