Week Ten: Leah Weerasinghe

Today marked our 10th and final session in the black box space that has become Bristol New Voices’ home over the past weeks. After a few quick catch ups and armed with biscuits and squash, we were prepared for whatever the session threw at us. Or, more precisely, whatever disasters we were about to face. This brings us on to Hughie’s new warm up game ‘Natural Disasters’ where both mentors and mentees alike became expert in dealing with all kinds of weathers. Tornadoes, fires, earthquakes and floods – we’ve seen it all. However, without a doubt, Ruby C’s urgency in her decision to clamber upon and cling to furniture in order to avoid the ‘Great Lawrence Hill flood of 2016’ was a particular highlight.

After the mayhem of the disasters had subsided, we revisited an earlier game of walking across the room and greeting each other in accordance with different emotions and characters. It was lovely to be able to return to this previous exercise and to see and feel the transformations in both the young people and the mentors since the first time these games were played. We have some very talented, intelligent and thoughtful young people in our company. Daisy then added a new element to this exercise, as we walked across the room, our characters met each other for the first time: whilst Rafferty the balloon found a new friend in Carly the Cupcake Panda, Carlton Chop and Rusty the broken down tour bus seemed such kindred spirits that the only reasonable conclusion was that they were cruelly separated at birth. If only we had a term more then I have no doubt that there would be ample material and pairings for the Company to continue to explore!

Once the games were over, we began rehearsing our scenes within our pairs. Olga and I spent our time working on the overall spacing for the scene, creating animated reactions to each other and, specifically for myself, how to kneel like a balloon (if a balloon could kneel!).

All pairs then were given the chance to perform and share their work which was especially exciting as we got to see what everyone else had been getting up to over the past two weeks and experience the scenarios that our wonderful playwright Adam has so carefully crafted. As performers, we followed our first rule which was ‘Be Brave’ and as the audience, the second rule ‘Be Kind’, was especially important. The run-through ended with our first bow as a company and, even though it was a practice, it was wonderful to share the stage space with these brilliant young people. We all can’t wait for Sunday.

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