A theatrical charade

Written by Eugenie Thieffry

As a French drama teacher, I was glad to have the opportunity to conduct a theater workshop with the Nepali students at Maya Universe Academy.

The biggest challenge in this was to get the group ready to perform a small play within just two weeks! And with kids who are already committed with their regular math, English and sciences lessons, amongst more!

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The workshop was split in 4 sessions:
1) body and voice training,
2) set-up of the play scenario,
3) masks creation,
4) play repetitions.

It was of great surprise to me to see how children are similar wherever they grow-up! In Paris or in the middle of Nepal’s hills: the same shyness to speak in front of a group, and the same timidity to use body language were two amongst other similarities. One difference was their imagination! When I asked them to do impromptu speeches (based on a theme I gave), they all volunteered! In France my pupils often asked me to validate their ideas, but at MAYA I felt that the students expressed more confidence in themselves.

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After we wrote up the scenario, we made masks. Masks are very helpful for would be comedians! The activity of making a mask in itself is a trick to get the kids more involved: they create their own “costume” and appearance. Then they have a better control of their fears: slowly they understand that the character they created will perform the play and not themselves.

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The day before the public performance, nervousness creeped up! All the kids came to see me, “Eugenie Miss we can’t play tomorrow, there is too many people.” “Eugenie Miss my heart is beating” and so on…. This also made me very excited! I couldn’t wait for them to show to all their schoolmates and teachers the result of my “Theater Lessons”!

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On Wednesday November 15th my three classes successfully performed the play during the Morning Circle. They were empowered by the nice round of applause they got from the crowd! I’m very proud of the work we did together!

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What I learnt from my two weeks stay at MAYA, is that, wherever they grow-up, children love to create. The main difference between kids in France and at MAYA is that French kids have too much access to distractions like TV, Internet and so on; less time (and maybe less need) to stimulate their imagination. Children like those growing up in France, are perhaps more protected for a longer time. I feel like a Nepali child has to “grow up” faster to be able to be independent on daily activity, like walking alone in the Jungle to go to school!

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I highly recommend European young adults and students to spend some time at MAYA UNIVERSE ACADEMY. You will be rewarded 100 times for what you give. You will learn how much you can do with little means. And “learning by doing” is the fastest way to learn, both for Maya’s eager students and yourself!

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