Yesterday afternoon Tonypandemonium director Mathilde Lopez and myself had the privilege of working with a small group from Peer Mentoring Wales, a programme that supports and encourages sustained change for people and communities affected by drug and alcohol use.
Using scenes from Tonypandemonium - NTW's new production written by Rachel Trezise - the group explored improvising around the text, playing with words to make them their own and building on objectives.
Starting off with a discussion about the story, characters and themes, it became quickly evident that this is a play that speaks to people. The humour and humility in the text heard through the voices of menopausal party-mum Debs and hormonal-teenager Dan was something the group quickly visualised and identified with.
And then came the text...
Starting off a little timid, Mathilde encouraged the group to make the text their own, quickly turning the air a brighter shade of blue. Filling the room with raucous laughter and salty cheeks, the group were supported to surprise themselves, take risks and push ad-libbing as far as possible.
At the height of the workshop the improvisation was so frenzied and free that the text became absurd, with the group jumping in on top of each other, stealing each others lines and truly engaging the theme of chaos so evident in the play.
For me, the highlight of the workshop was listening to Tom 'n Tom read and improvise around a scene between desperate mother and despaired daughter. With one on his feet Charleston dancing and the other sat gawping in complete disgust, the scene came to life as we watched with delight (before considering closing the windows for fear of a 999 call.)
Sadly, I don't have photos that show the hilarity of these beautiful moments. I can only say that shows just how engaged I was in the work of the group, and not in my camera!
Have a great weekend,
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