Last week in Ealing – what a week we had!
As you can see from the enticing poster above, last week FINDING THE WILL had the privilege to work with 88 young actors in Year 4 at Montpelier Primary School, Ealing. This is a lovely school with a cracking team of teachers who, bearing in mind we were as new to them as they were to us, could not have been more welcoming or indeed more trusting. Huge thanks right away to Mr Reading, Mr Gohil and Miss Denyer and all the support staff who encouraged and worked with the children when they were not with us. The week began in the usual way with an interactive workshop during which the children learnt the story, the names of all the main characters and the themes of the play. They played all the parts as usual: https://twitter.com/twitter/statuses/985984085087662080
By Monday lunchtime, Macbeth was dead and Malcolm was the rightful King again. So on Monday afternoon, Maeve and I began work on rehearsing the eight scenes that made up the final performance on Friday afternoon. By Wednesday lunchtime the whole play was in the bag! Every time FINDING THE WILL works with a school on a Shakespeare Project Week, we are amazed by our actors. These eight and nine year olds were no exception. Some of them really pushed themselves out of their comfort zones – (ask them what their comfort zone is and we’re talking sitting on the sofa watching your favourite TV programme – last week they got themselves off the sofa and so far away from the TV they were almost in another room) – some of them showed sides of their characters not seen before, some showed huge creativity (well there really is absolutely no reason at all why American tourists should not be at the coronation of King Macbeth is there?) and some just had a lot of fun and relished every moment. https://twitter.com/twitter/statuses/987343801663610881
Alongside the eclectic music soundtrack (come on, Meatloaf to Vera Lynn is pretty eclectic I’m sure you’ll agree), there was a fair bit of the original text – I know seasoned actors who struggle with learning Macbeth’s “Tomorrow” speech in 24 hours but, clearly, if you are nine years old this is no problem! Likewise Lady Macbeth’s “Yet here’s a spot” speech and the final exchange between Macbeth and Macduff. Even more importantly than all of this though is the confidence the children gained throughout the week. Little voices grew bigger, the sense of responsibility for each other increased (as did the smiling faces) and the children grew in stature both physically and mentally. What a feeling of pride we all had (children, staff, parents and practitioners) at the end of the week. So Year 4, take a bow, you did a terrific job, Ealing should be proud and ‘Macbeth’ is now yours!