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As part of a theatre project, the class took part in a drama workshop in English before seeing the play OUT OF THE DARK
Drama Workshop with Sophie Brech

Before starting, we expected to play a real role with a text which we would have to learn. So we were surprised by the different exercises she gave us, and it wasn’t a bad idea, it was a funny experience.

At first, we had to be relaxed, she asked us to breathe slowly and to think about nothing, to clear our brains. It worked well ; we were very relaxed after that.
Then, standing in a circle, we played a sort of game to pour out our emotions. We had to say “zip” when clapping hands on the right side, then the people next to us on the right had to do the same thing. We could also do the same things on the left side when saying “zap”. And we could say “boom” holding fists up in front of the person who said the last “zip” or “zap”. This word changed the way of the game in the circle. The last expression we could say was “Sheba”. When you said “Sheba”, you were able to choose who would have to continue the game. To do that, your hands had to be in front of you like an arrow.

In the next exercise, we had to shout what Sophie had just said –as an example, when she said “I am the boss !” we had to repeat after her. It was the most challenging exercise because we had to change our voices depending on what we have to imitate. This exercise was cool ; it was the most interesting game for us.

In the third exercise, still standing in a circle, Sophie chose one of us and blindfolded him with a scarf, and then she moved him inside the circle to make him lose his bearings. The aim of the game was to come back to our place in the circle without seeing anything.

The easiest exercise was the fourth one. We had to walk with a “blind” partner in the theater. It was a nice sensation to be guided by someone. We had to really trust our partner. The aim was to have no lack of confidence.
The fifth exercise was to play a part of The Miracle Worker. It was cool too because we had to be imaginative.

The last exercise was interesting. We had to sit on the stage with a scarf on our eyes. Then Sophie gave us an object and we had to guess what object it was.

To put it in a nutshell, the workshop was very interesting. Because, to act and play without our eyes is really unsettling. We really wanted to thank Sophie for that nice moment.

On January the 10th, we saw an English theater play with our English teachers Mrs Pavard and Mrs Hanrigou. It was named “Out of the Dark”, and created by Sophie Brech and Louis Fortier who were the actors too.
The story

The main character of the play is Kate Adams (played by Sophie Brech), the host of the TV show “Up Late with Kate”. One day, she has invited Philip Clayton Smith, the blind author of the book “Out of the Dark”, because she wants him to talk about his own experience as a blind person. During the show, they make experiments about the sensations of a blind or deaf person, like Helen Keller, the subject of Philip’s book. Actually, Helen Keller was a famous woman, who lived in the late 19th and at the beginning of the 20th. At 1 month, she got a fever which left her deaf, mute and blind. But with the help of Anne Sullivan, she achieved her goals : she learned several languages, and wrote a book about her life. During the play, there are many flashbacks which explain how Kate and Philip met, and why Kate wanted to invite him : she ‘s got an eye disease which will leave her blind. Between Philip and Kate, a love story begins …
The Staging
The staging of the play is very special and creative : there are many funny and interesting interactions with the public, short films, sounds, light and shadow effects. There were only two actors, and three white screens for the set, but we could feel the atmosphere of a TV show (with an amplifier “On Air” …). There was only one technician, but he managed to create a power cut for the play ! It was really impressive !

In conclusion, this play was very nice and inventive. Furthermore it was very informative about Helen Keller and the life of a blind person. We enjoyed it !

Out of the dark
On Friday, January 10th we attended the play Out of the Dark written and interpreted by Sophie Brech and her husband, at the MJC theatre in Palaiseau.
Only two actors played the performance, which made the play very particular because after studying the life of Helen Keller we expected more actors to represent her daily life. However it was an easy way to get into the story. Sophie who played Kate Adams and Louis Fortier who played Philip Clayton Smith interpreted their characters very well as we thought that Philip was actually blind.
The play was divided into two parts, the TV show “up late with Kate” and the two characters’ lives. At the beginning we thought it was a bit hard to understand but it got interesting and original.
Many different details made the play original in both the plot and the staging. We could see and understand the everyday life of a blind person in reference to Helen Keller, for example at one point of the show the lights went off,- which made us feel like a blind person. The staging was simple but efficient. There were two white carpets which represented the different places where the action took place, three screens to project videos, mostly extracts from the “Miracle Worker”, the film about Helen Keller. There were also two chairs so that the actors could sit, for example when they went to the restaurant. It was surprising to see that only one stage could represent many different places, the spectator could imagine what he wanted to.
In general, we enjoyed watching Out of the Dark because it’s very interesting to see the point of view of different people about something we have already studied in class. Moreover the play was easy to understand and original. Also we really appreciated that Sophie Brech, the actress, was the one who welcomed us at the beginning and presented the play. This relationship created between the actors and the spectators made us have a very enjoyable night watching the play.

Alyssa Zeddoun and Julie Dorbes