Morgan Beck, Lily Miller and Victoria Hayes have been attending James and Jamsey’s improvisation and physical comedy workshops for three years now, and every time the L.V. Rogers students discover something new about themselves and the creative process.
“When they do anything, they do it completely and totally. And even if it’s weird they’re not holding back at all,” Beck told the Star. “I really love the exercise Impulse River, which is everyone basically going crazy and doing improv and feeding off each other.”
On Wednesday evening the kids participated in a dialogue exercise in which the only line the students were allowed to speak back and forth was “I am the real Dracula”, discussed body language and status, and experimented with the things they learned.
And though those unfamiliar with drama education might have been startled by the histrionic, animal-like displays during the class, the three girls believe the exercises are cathartic.
“You have to surrender yourself completely to the other person and expect the same from them in return,” said Miller. “During the first year I couldn’t do it and I found it really scary, because you have to give all your emotion, but by the second year I knew what was happening. It’s been fun to grow with them.”
Hayes agreed. She’s attended six of James and Jamesy’s workshops.
“At first I barely said a word but now my throat’s so raw from screaming because I’m invested in doing these exercises, and I’m getting so much more from them every time I do it.”
For her, the most thrilling part is knowing she’s learning from successful working artists.
“They’re very interesting characters themselves. They’re inspiring to watch because they’ve figured this out. They’re doing something with theatre and making money doing it,” she said. “I associate them with joy.”
Teacher Robyn Sheppard said she was thrilled to host the pair.
“I love having James and Jamesy in my classroom because they remind the kids how vital it is to be open to creative expression. In the creative arts it’s so vital to listen to our creative impulses, the ‘what ifs’ and they remind all of us, myself included, to engage in play. And through that it creates powerful connections.”
Sheppard had a blast during the class.
This year the out-of-timetable drama class has a number of projects. In the coming months they will mount a half-hour version of Dracula, an adaptation of Antony and Cleopatra that they will tour to Summerland, and their main production The Miracle Worker, which they will perform at the Capitol Theatre in May.
“Having the students able to work side-by-side with professional artists is amazing. They can see the commitment to these exercises manifested in brilliant works of art. It’s a wonderful experience for those kids.”
See the Friday issue of the Nelson Star for a full story on James and Jamesy’s upcoming Capitol Theatre show.