By Marieke Gaboury of Southern Rep
This month felt like a big break through time for our YO NOLA kids.
We continue to be challenged by the realities of physical space, end of long school day attention span of 3rd and 4th graders, and missing kids due to detention, transportation issues at home, and the like — But, even within these confines, the work took a big leap forward. They are getting excited by connecting with one another. This feels huge. We’ve done a lot of improvisation exercises that are about transferring energy and information from one to the next, and you can see how this gets them more deeply invested in working together as a group, off of each other – instead of showing off for the group.
A favorite exercise moment –
The kids learned the vocal warm up that starts “What to do to die today at a minute or two to two …” and we spontaneously kept it going, until we found ourselves crouched to the floor – speaking in unison in low, clear voices, drumming with our hands on the ground as the dragon approached. And you could feel it – this electricity and excitement in the room that came from taking what existed between all of us in the moment and truly committing to it. It was actually a pretty compelling performance.
Yo Nola is laying the ground work for the story that will be their first original play, created by the ensemble. We’ve been working with re-telling classic stories, and infusing them with information from the kids’ lives. They have chosen that their final semester project will be a retelling of The Lorax.