Week Nine: Max Thrower

With 11 days until the New Voices grace the Tobacco Factory with some of the best characters seen since Winnie The Pooh, our penultimate session began with an air of sadness and excitement. We were sad that this was the last session with mentee Aji and the prospect that the project had nearly reached its end. However, the excitement for the fun yet to be had and the achievements to be made was palpable.

We began with an improvisation game (led by our resident improv mentor Eli) in which three people go in the middle and at all times there must be one person sitting, lying down and standing up. Scenarios were performed, which saw the likes of Diggory, Olga and Ruby in a furious battle of wits (and sits) to claim the precious cubicle stall. In my opinion it was a testament to the relationships built over the last nine weeks; allowing mentors and mentees to comfortably interact in a game that I don’t think would have been possible earlier on in the process.

After we’d had our fun, it was down to business. Daisy dealt out Adam’s scripts (that are, quite frankly, charming) and we split into our pairs or threes to start rehearsing. Mentor Jude and I worked with mentees Jaz and Aji to put our charming characters to life. Jaz quickly asserted herself as director, giving advice on posture, voice and movement. We then watched Olga and Leah’s and gave constructive feedback. If their’s is anything to go by, the audience really is in for a treat come the 20th.

Our end game was suggested by Sammy, and consisted of an interrogative game of Grandma’s footsteps called ‘king of the castle’. The appointed ruler was allowed to ask questions to those approaching and could send back all those they deemed unfit. Some rulers were fair and understanding of their approaching subjects, others ruled with an iron fist, not taking any excuse as a valid reason to encroach on their precious kingdom.

We ended with the usual game of zip zap boing. Frankly I thought I was incredible at this game. A tour de force: the incoming storm; the Rocky Balboa of zipping and zapping. Slayed by a sly Kit Kat from Hector seconds into the game, this proved not to be the case. Maybe I’m getting old or perhaps the students are becoming the masters. Whatever it is, some like Daniella are uncannily skilled at this game, playing with such grace that I can only describe it as breath taking.

After we’d said goodbye to the students, we had a quick chat with teacher Adrian who gave us some lovely feedback, informing us how the kids really look forward to the sessions and how even students from years nine and ten had been asking as to when they got to participate in such session. Wonderful to hear, wonderful to take part in. I’ll be sad when it’s over. But in the meantime, we have a show to do…

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