I have been a little behind on my blog posts but I have been keeping notes of our meetings and remember many things about our meetings.

Week 5 was less fortunate in terms of numbers. We had two participants from OSHER show up and we were left with 5 people to try and act out Act 5. Despite our extremely low numbers, we persevered and read through the play twice. One of our actors took on about 5 characters and brought in three different bags of props for all of the characters. She is by far the stud of the group at the moment. While acting out two of the characters that she was filling in for someone else, she changed some of their lines and decided how they should act on stage.

Besides Sherryl taking control of the play, we got some productive staging done during our meeting of only 5 members. We don’t know exactly which stage we will be working on for the final play so we aren’t quite sure how we will be able to manage the spacing of the play within a play. However, we now know how we would like to position once we know which stage we are on. The actors for the play within a play will be on center stage and the “audience” will be set up on the side of the stage so that they can watch the play and still turn to talk towards the actual audience. This was really important for us to accomplish and it is awesome that we got so far with only 5 people.

This past week was a little unusual for our group. We unfortunately did not know that Higher Achievement was not meeting and therefor were not able to work with our kids. Although we did not meet with them we were still able to work on our act. Had we done what we planned on we would have done some tongue twisters to work on their speech for the play. We then would have split them up by character groups to work on the play and actually acting it out.

Last week we were able to be narrow down our act. We started picking out lines for the characters with minimal lines and for those without any currently. We also figured out how we want to organize all our students who are extras or for those characters that have multiple students playing them. We originally had some girls being fairies but decided to go another way and keep with the original characters in our act. We will just switch the lines to make sure everyone has something to read. Hopefully this week we are able to implement these new ideas with the students.

We’re getting closer! Unlike our last effort in bringing them all together, the kids were willing to run through the whole Act together! All of the kids were present (physically and mentally) and seemed engaged with their words. It’s exciting to see the progress they have made since our first couple weeks. Kniko, a regular troublemaker, was very active this week and promised us he would be coming to the show. After a couple weeks of hearing them tell us how they’re not coming, it was nice to hear that from the “ringleader.”

I really think the kids are starting to respect us because whenever they strayed away from the task, they responded to us when we told them to focus. When I leave all the boys come over to give me high fives and handshakes. I think they like seeing us every week and they’ve definitely grown on me too. As nice and respectful as they have been to us, they were relentless with the program director this week. It is nice to no longer be on the receiving end of that criticism. Lastly, two or three relationships have formed between the kids because of this group. It is quite funny to see myself as a matchmaker!

This was our best week ever! We completed the entire Act 2 with everyone together. We set up   a fake stage area and a fake audience area, and the kids practiced walking on and off stage at the appropriate time and performing their lines. Oliver and I sat back and watched, offering very little instruction, and the kids succeeded on their own. They had a good grip of what was going on in the plot and read lines very well. It was such a positive day. We even had two visitors from the CCE stop by (thank god it was on a good day) and they seemed very impressed. I was so proud. Additionally, it was humorous to learn that we have 3 new romantic couples in our class. The lovebirds denied it, but I’m pretty confident Shakespeare, Oliver and I brought them together.