As I again forgot to journal last week’s encounter, I will do my best to summarize both weeks in this post.
Last week all three mentors were there for the first time in a while. The group was still not solidified, since a couple of people whom were expected to be there either were not at school or again decided they did not want to participate. Nevertheless, we got through the script. Yet when the students heard that other public school students would be at the performance, they were actually quite a bit apprehensive. You could tell they were not comfortable being around kids that do not go to their school I hope that their confidence does not wane. The diction is still hard for almost all of the students. Most of them truly struggle just paying attention and following their lines. As we continue to get closer, I hope that the enthusiasm that they so often show will be just as strong as when they are in front of complete strangers. Haley however was not as helpful. During our read through she distracted the students. I just hope she will be able to assist with keeping the students focus. Of course the news then broke that she was no longer with St. Josephs.
When hearing Haley was not going to be assisting anymore, I was extremely worried about who would the contact. Yet she still texted to confirm that we would be coming. Apparently, it is her intention to be there until the project is over. To some degree this is important to hear. On the other end, this is problematic because she is no longer a staff member. This caused a few issues at the end of rehearsal on Thursday. We tried to act out the first scene and a half, but the kids really just could not stay controlled. Haley does not seem to have the authority anymore and the two faculty with us were rather disinterested. Haley did say that they would have transportation and she would contact me with the person who would be the new contact. As the weeks go by, it is becoming clearer that this will be an interesting event to put on. The acting aside, the students may have a tough time with this if focus cannot be assumed by them and their faculty advisor.
After our surprising night off last week, we had a pretty successful night at Higher Achievement this week! We started off the night by breaking up into our new three groups, based chronologically on the events in Act I. I was in charge of the first three pages of Act I, which consisted of the characters Theseus, Hippolyta, Egeus, Hermia, Demetrius, and Lysander. The first time we sat in a circle around a table and practiced the lines sitting down. For some reason the classroom has chairs with wheels on them so the children had a pretty difficult time focusing and kept wheeling around everywhere. While it was pretty difficult to keep them calm and still, they were pretty successful at reading their lines. I then had my group practice their lines once again standing up, as if they were actually performing. I gave them advice such as not holding the script in front of their face and to make sure they are loud enough for the audience to hear. Once the kids stood up and performed their lines they got significantly more into it. For example, one of the kids was walking back and forth in the front of the classroom, acting as if it was the stage. He was also using hand and body gestures which I found incredibly amusing.
We ended the rehearsal by playing a tongue twister game which the children really enjoyed. I just looked up tongue twisters on my phone and would have the kids go in a line and repeat the ones I said. It eventually escalated into all the kids competing to see who can see it correctly the fastest. We had a bunch of rounds and then a championship round between the two best. The winner got to take home one of the JSP posters we brought. The kids had a lot of fun with this game and they were also really impressed with the posters, so we’ll be sure to bring more next week! We also gave a few posters to the organizers so they could hang them around the school. The kids are getting more and more excited each week to come to our school and keep asking if their parents can come. They have gotten really into the play which is really cool to see and I’m excited to go back next week for one of our final rehearsals before showtime!