A young man's crazy imaginings were the subject of a comedy play staged by the Youth Theatre of Sha Tin recently. Ernie's Incredible Illucinations used only a plain backdrop and a few chairs as props. Performers dressed in black T-shirts and trousers while the leading character wore a blue T-shirt and hat. The young performers from Sha Tin College mimed many actions but also used words and music. The cast was Pippa Low, Tanya Barlow, Simon Leafe, Juliet Short, Ben Sharp, Cheryl Cheung, Stephanie Plummer and Ki-yong Kim. Between them, they played 20 roles. Their debut one-act play at the Fringe Club's Nestle Dairy Farm Theatre in Central was staged in front of parents and teachers. The play, written by Alan Ayckbourn, was directed by Helen Lesley, founder of Dramarama - an independent group which conducts youth theatre workshops at international schools. The story was about young Ernie, played by 13-year-old Pippa, who gives his parents much trouble with his 'illucinations'. The parents, played by 12-year-old Tanya and 13-year-old Simon, take their son to see a psychiatrist. Ernie's illusions and his 'real life' are fused together. The audience can see his thoughts about the world as he sits in the clinic. The play ran for about 30 minutes. Director Ms Lesley said Ernie's thoughts required many complicated changes of set to depict the different backgrounds. 'With physical theatre, the kids are the background and they portray the scenes with their own bodies and movements,' said Ms Lesley. To further develop the young performers' creativity, Ms Lesley encouraged the performers to improvise scenes and backgrounds during the seven weeks of rehearsals. 'They had not even read the script before I asked them to imagine themselves in a certain situation and let them come up with some movements or dialogue,' Ms Lesley explained. These ideas were incorporated into the play and they added unscripted roles as well as unexpected, unique dynamics to the show. Ms Lesley was impressed with the performers' progress over the rehearsal period. 'At first, they were shy as they have naturally quite reserved gestures,' she said. 'But they opened up gradually and came out with lots of surprises.' The youngsters were also enthusiastic about the production. 'It is fun to live different lives in drama,' said 11-year-old Ben, who played five different roles.