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.
This past Tuesday when we arrived at Higher Achievement, there were no people or school buses in sight like there usually is. We knocked and tried calling one of the program directors a few times to see if they were there or it had been cancelled this week, but she never picked up her phone. We didn’t get an email so we’re still not sure what happened, but after waiting 15 minutes we decided to head home. However, while this trip to Higher Achievement was a minor setback in the progress we’ve been making, we still had a productive work day during class. We finalized our list of props for the Act and went through each of our students to organize everyone’s roles and figure out which students would be the same character. After dividing their parts up, we took the characters that were going to be split up by two actors and divided their lines. For example, we have Hermia #1 and Hermia #2 so Hermia #1 would say the first half of Hermia’s lines (with her father and Lysander) and then Hermia #2 would step in for the conversation with Helena. When balancing out the lines for the two actresses, we gave the longer speeches to our student who was more comfortable reading her lines so that they would both be happy with their roles on stage and amount of lines they had to read. Had we met with our group that night, we were going to break down the whole Act into 3 parts and Devani, Mel, and I would each take one part and the lines/characters with it. Up until now, we had made random small groups for practicing lines, but by doing it chronologically with the act, the students would be able to practice with the people they would be on stage with. We will do this next Tuesday when we go!! We are hoping to keep up the progress we’ve been having before the minor setback this week.
Last Tuesday during our work day we had come up with a finalized prop list as well as a definitive plan as to what we were going to do that night at Higher Achievement. We had split our act into three parts, where each of us was going to be in charge of leading that part. We all had our specific characters and actors set up for each part so we were organized and ready to go later that night at rehearsal. Unfortunately, when we arrived at Boushall Middle School later that night there was nobody to be seen! The usual guards who are at the doors were not there and the doors were all locked. We waited for about 10 minutes and tried calling Kesha twice, but we had no luck. Since there were no other cars or buses there and it was starting to get a little creepy we decided to head back to campus.
We had planned to start the rehearsal off by having the kids play a tongue twister game. Then, we were going to split into our three groups and actually start acting out their parts. We were planning on putting on a full rehearsal sometime soon but it seems like we are running out of time and the children haven’t really had time to practice all their lines. We will just bump this lesson plan back until we meet with them next week and try to shift around our planning for the next few weeks since we won’t be there the week of Thanksgiving break.
I was again not able to go to St. Joseph’s. Ben went and continued the reading of the script with the kids. He said that the kids had a hard time getting through the script in a timely manner so we are going to have to cut more of the script.
I was not able to go to St. Joseph’s this week but Ben went and basically just went over the script with the kids and tried to assign more definite roles but it’s hard because we do not know who is definitely participating or not yet.
Today we found out that we will only have three OSHER participants at the show due to family emergencies and illness. With that in mind we divided up the lines as best we could and are going to ask one of the professors, or another students, at the performance to step in as Hippolyta. We had fun putting on costumes and deciding what “sharp” object in the prop box Pyramus should use to boach his boiling bloody breast. One of the OSHER participants has gotten super into it and has memorized at least two of her longer lines in order to better get into character, quite impressive. She always has ideas on how to make our scene better, including getting on us about our lack of acting when we don’t have lines… It seems at though everyone is getting more comfortable with their lines and is having fun, which is what we like to see!
An idea that was thrown out today was that maybe all of the kids could come on stage right before Puck says his final line, that way everyone is already on stage to bow and be applauded at the end of the performance. What are people’s thoughts on this? Good idea? Too complicated?
That day was the second time we visited the site. We as a group came up with a list of rules about respecting one another, not talking while others are talking, and a no phone policy since that was a frequent problem during our last visit. We introduced these rules to the group then we listed characters that are in Act 3. We did a brief list of what people would like to be which characters. After this we went outside and played a game called Grandma’s keys. The kids seemed to really enjoy it wanted to continue playing even though it was to leave. We are still trying to see how many kids we will actually have participating.
Today was a work day in class. We took time to look through the prop box and figure out what we still need. Our plan for tomorrow night is to go through the prop box with the OSHER participants. We plan on having Hippolyta and Theseus wear the crown that our class chooses. Lysander and the other nobles will be in business casual attire. The mechanicals will be dressed in overalls and or jeans to indicate that they are of the working class. Bottom will wear a hat when he is playing Pyramus in the play within the play to differentiate between his rolls. We need to obtain a lantern and beg someone for the use of their puppy, for moonshine’s costume. The rest of the props are being obtained by Dr. Bezio and or brought in by the OSHER actors. We are hoping that we will have a good turn out at rehearsal tomorrow night and can have a productive run through and work out the details of props and costumes.