Interplay 2014. pub

Page 10  Experimental Young Actor Playback Theatre  Anastasya Vorobyova

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Interplay XIX-2014
Page 10 

Experimental Young Actor Playback Theatre 
Anastasya Vorobyova
Our first stories were all about pets. They helped children to build initial trust, to share their mood and to get support. So then we 
moved to the next stage:
Team formation by means of constructive cooperation.
Our group tasks for this stage were: to give each child an opportunity to find himself as a member of creative team; and to help 
them to understand and reinforce acquired knowledge and skills in social context. This stage is characterized by formation of so-
called "team-effect". Children start to realize that together they can do more and better, than each taken separately. Each time 
we have more and more specific acting tasks, but that doesn't mean that we give up previous tasks. That only means that we are 
growing. We are climbing steadily up to the pinnacle of theatrical art. And one of the most important objectives was to captivate 
the children with the prospect of self-improvement. The more we grow, the more discoveries await us. 
And what happened with our stories? 
It happened at a rehearsal one day; after the rehearsal a little girl Masha said in a very low voice: 
-I want to share my story with you. Would you, please, play my story. 
And she told us a really troubling story that happened to her at school not long ago. It was the first traumatic story for us! Young 
actors performed that story in the form of chorus. And it was a true miracle! After the story was performed, the actors froze and 
turned toward Masha… It was a long silence… and then we saw tears in Masha’s eyes. Then she sprang up from her chair and 
went to the stage to embrace the actors. I was also deeply touched by another episode. One of our participants, Michael, came 
to Masha and, looking in her eyes, asked her: "And may I also tell you my story?” 
Masha‘s story marked an important point in our way to the top. Now we were one step higher. Now we could play stories about 
our parents and friends, our fears and joys, our accomplishments and worries. So, now it was time to build the roof and even to 
add some style in our rooms. You may ask which playback forms we use. We know several brief forms, such as chorus and 
pairs. We've also created some original forms – Ages ago, Role Fairy Tale and Singing Palette.
Our first performance took place in June. The hall was full of people - adults and children. They wanted to share their stories and 
to celebrate a birthday of our theater. Joszef Paradi and Aviva Apel also came to see us. The stories were very different. About 
the very first journey of a baby, stories about children’s dreams and even our first love story. 
By permission of our beloved young actors I asked their parents some questions. 
Here are some of the changes the parents observed in their children’s behavior over 
the 8 months: 

80% of parents reported rapid growth of tolerance in children 

70% reported improvement of mutual understanding with their children in the family 

60% reported an increase in performance of their children in school 

60% of children have changed their interests and hobbies
I can also assume that playback studies can accelerate the process of maturation and to round off rough corners of the awkward 
age. Two weeks after the performance we had another experiment. Along with my young actors we held a workshop at the Inter-
national Moscow PD Conference - Playback Theatre for Children. The workshop lasted about two hours. There were children 
from 8 to 11 years old. My little actors were my co-trainers! Our workshop resulted in an evening performance for children and 
their parents. Surprising, but true – we dealt with this task! The tone for our performance was set by the youngest participants. It 
was their first meeting with playback and they didn't have any experience except for our workshop. They showed us a Role Sculp-
ture. And then their initiative was taken up by our brave young actors of Children Playback theatre. Of course, there are still so 
many things we need to learn. This process never ends. And I already have some topics to work with in September. Our theater 
has many plans—to give a series of performances in orphanages and retirement homes; and to hold a special program for children 
- an International Playback Camp for Young Actors. 
Dedicated to my little friends 
I grow together with you… 

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