If you ask 10-year-old twins Mimi and Manny what their favorite part of Pillsbury House’s afterschool program is, they will tell you without hesitation that it is stilting. “I like walking around and being really tall,” Manny explains.
Mimi and Manny have lived in the neighborhood throughout their lives, and four years ago, they started coming to the Pillsbury House afterschool program. They remember their first day and meeting friends who are still in the program with them today. Since then, Manny and Mimi have participated in Summer Arts Camp (where they perfected their stilting skills) as well as the Chicago Avenue Project.
The twins’ first Chicago Avenue Project experience was earlier this spring when Manny performed as a General and Mimi as a Robot Hero. This fall, they’re on the opposite side of the process, writing original plays with the help of local playwrights that will be performed by professional theatre artists. Manny’s play, Hole, is about a tornado and cheetah who fall off of Cloud City and land in Mount Vesuvius; Mimi’s play, Frenemies, features a superhero and supervillain who have to work together to do their job. Mimi and Manny agree that being in the plays is more fun than writing them, but that the experience of writing plays will help them be better actors the next time around.
Manny and Mimi want to keep coming to Pillsbury House’s programs as they grow up. Their advice to new students: “Don’t run in the building. Listen to directions. The teachers are kind of fun. And, stilting is the best.”
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photo of Mimi and Manny by Kelsye A. Gould, 2014