Agent Lorenzo: Save Our Stories!
Updated: May 2, 2018
Last month, "The Society Against Stories" took over Lady Margaret’s Primary School. Their first new rule was banning storybooks. Led by Hemi the storyteller, all pupils rose up against this, creating their own amazing stories, advocating for stories and ultimately saving the stories of their school. Lorenzo Mason, currently on a work placement with KIT theatre, went deep undercover to experience our work. Here's his account of an unusual week.
“My experience of KIT Theatre’s Save Our Stories adventure was to assume the role of Agent Lorenzo, operative of the nefarious Society Against Stories. I worked from Monday to Friday, and my activities involved progressively “shutting down” sections of the school library with plastic sheeting, conducting spot checks in classrooms for “contraband” storybooks, “spying” on storytelling workshops and generally looking stern as I guarded the library from children trying to take out fiction books. I quickly became the focus of the pupils’ righteous indignation.
My continued presence there, ramping up the society’s censorship activities, seemed to help establishing the narrative and building up dramatic tension. In one memorable moment on the third day, the Year 3 students formed a human wall, cornering me in a section of the library, to prevent me sealing off more bookcases. They repeatedly asked why I wanted to ban stories, proudly affirming how they were necessary for imagination. When I responded “you don’t need imagination” I was met with a loud chorus of boos.
Other, subtler, subversive activities showed the intelligence and investment of the pupils: some tried to join the society in an attempt, I was later told, to act as double agents, others hid books still in the library, just not in bookshelves, so they could easily be retrieved later, others ran distraction tactics to distract me while their friends took out books.
It culminated on Friday with the arrival of my boss, Agent Grey: in the morning, as we took out the last boxes of storybooks from classes, some of them formed barricades with their desks in an attempt to stop us, others surrounded me in a human shield. In the grand finale in the quad we were met with jeers by the entire student body of 650 children, a strange experience I must say. However these immediately turned to ecstatic cheers when Agent Grey was “hypnotised” and reversed the storybook ban. Children later joined in helping me take away the plastic coverings in the library and returning the school's stories.
It was a marvellous experience that enthralled and delighted me!”
KIT’s Save Our Stories adventure was devised by Tom Bowtell, Toby Peach, Emma MacClennan, Lorenzo Mason and Anna Myers in partnership with the staff pupils of Lady Margaret’s Primary School. To find out more about a whole-school literacy adventure, why not drop us a line at: info@KITtheatre.org