One minute Maor Tsitrin is standing in a classroom, and the next, his imagination sends him to a construction site.
He wasn’t there alone — he brought with him Canadian improv superstar Colin Mochrie.
Mochrie came to Winnipeg to promote his new book, Not Quite the Classics, when Vincent Massey Collegiate’s improvisational drama teacher, Margo Kehler, asked him to stop by the school to meet her students. Mochrie took questions from students during the Oct. 29 visit before doing an improv scene with Tsitrin, whom Mochrie picked himself.
"I was picked and before the scene even started, my heart was beating a million times a second," Tsitrin said.
Mochrie and Tsitrin acted out a scene where they were fellow construction workers, but Mochrie’s character had lost feeling in his arms and the bosses were going to fire him. The 16-year-old Grade 11 student got the thrill of a lifetime when his idol asked him how he was while working on the imaginary construction site together.
"What we were so proud of was that he held his own," Kehler said. "There was that flash of nervousness on his face, but it was just a flash, then he just relied on his skills."
Tsitrin said the experience won’t be one he’ll forget anytime soon.
"During that scene there were three things going through my head," Tsitrin said. "At first it was ‘I hope I don’t mess this up,’ then after that ‘Oh no, it’s Colin Mochrie, it’s really hard to mess up a scene with him,’ then the third thing was ‘I wonder if an old joke would be good right about now?’"
Tsitrin’s family moved to Winnipeg from the city of Haifa, Israel, located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, when he was five years old.
Kehler found out about Tsitrin, during his Grade 9 year at Arthur Leach School, through a colleague. She said Tsitrin is definitely going places with his talent.
"(Tsitrin) is the kind of student who could quite possibly do this for a living," said Kehler. "He’s got the kind of brain that fires really quickly, he’s fantastic in front of an audience, and I really feel it is what he was born to do."