You could call last week a minor breakthrough. While rehearsal went far smoother than the week before, there were still a few bumps. Oliver and I gave out roles at this practice. We tried to assign roles based on reading level rather than personality or look, the better readers, in theory, getting the most lines. We also had 8 written roles to cast and 10 kids in the group (meaning we have to make more parts or 2 kids won’t have speaking roles). The girls were really easy to assign because they are all fairly good readers and fairly well behaved. We picked their roles for them and told them who they would be playing at the start of rehearsal. They seemed pretty content. The boys were a little more difficult. Because most of them wouldn’t cooperate or participate the week before, we had less of an understanding of their reading levels and who to cast as who. After telling the girls their roles, we held minor auditions for the boys by asking each to read a passage. Only 4 of our 6 boys were present. One of these 4 refused to read and said he didn’t want a speaking part (which makes things a little easier for us, actually). He’s painfully shy. We decided he could be part of Oberon’s train of male fairies. We cast the other 3 boys present as Oberon, Puck and Demetrius, meaning we will need to audition for the part of Lysander at our next practice when everyone (hopefully) is there. Unfortunately, Lamar, who is by no means the best reader, insisted on being Oberon (who has the largest speaking role in our Act). We obliged to avoid rioting, but I’m not happy about it. It’s not about perfection, it’s about the time constraint of our performance. He struggles a lot with the lines, gets easily frustrated, and is quick to give up and say “forget this” or lower his volume to the point where no one can hear him speak. This is clearly a problem for our leading role. I think we will have to work one on one with him to get him ready and up to speed. As promised at the beginning of practice, once we finished casting we let everyone have free time. We are starting to use free time as an incentive to stay on task during rehearsal. We ended up playing basketball in the auditorium, and it was a good time.