After last week’s speed bump, Lydia and I decided to break them up into two groups again. Once again, I took the Fairies and Lydia took the Athenians. My group had great success! I was focusing a lot on blocking and acting rather than just reading through. Oberon and Puck responded very well to this and, because they are friends, acting together with excitement. They were certainly distracted but when I encouraged them to read their lines, they did. Puck had clearly picked up the Shakespearean English after reading through it multiple times and was helping the others with their words. It’s very rewarding to see the kids step up and read/act their lines.
Lydia’s group did not have as much success…Iyonna (Hermia) was in a terrible mood that distracted everyone from achieving their goals. The brothers who play Demetrius and Lysander seemed excited to work on their parts, but were held back by Iyonna. I’m sure she’ll be ready to go next week because she is our best actress and reader. It’s interesting to see how she has developed into a leader of the kids based on her acting/reading abilities. We’ll see how next goes…
We attempted to email the students ahead of time to see how many would be showing up, but we didn’t get the email out until mid-day this past Monday. On our way to John Marshall, we decided to call Laura just to make sure there would be students present when we arrived. Unfortunately, no one stayed after school, so we turned around. I told her that we would try to get the email out sooner, we just fell behind on getting it out sooner this time.
During the short ride back to school, we discussed what we should do… We definitely should have sent the email out earlier, say Sunday, and that’s on us. However, we did talk about the fact that it seems they aren’t very motivated anyways to stay after school regardless of if we send an email or not. We decided to make sure we send out an email by Friday so they have time to see it. If that doesn’t work, I don’t see what else will get them there.
Last week we had another successful week at Higher Achievement! We are definitely getting more comfortable with our group and they are feeling more confident around us and with working on the play. There were roughly the same amount of kids, a few less and one or two added, but the level of excitement and participation remained the same. We started off the meeting with another theatre game because we felt it really worked well for us last time and engaged the kids in a fun way before we asked them to be more serious. We played the mirror game and they were having so much fun that one of the peer leaders at Higher Achievement came into the room asking what all the noise was about. Thankfully, we got them to quit down for the next section but I honestly just love seeing them excited about the theatre games. Hopefully, this will result in less nerves or cold feet when the actual production comes.
Similar to our last meeting, we split into smaller groups after the game and worked on their pronunciation and delivery of Shakespeare’s lines. In my group, the boys were just as eager as last time and one of the new girls was surprisingly just as willing to come out of her shell and kept asking if we could read through her lines next. There is definitely still work to be done and some of the students are better at reading that others, but they are still doing much better than I anticipated. After the small groups, we came back together as a whole group and asked if there were any volunteers who wanted to read their lines. Their excitement and willingness to participate was great, but we were definitely more boy dominated when it came to participants. That is going to be one of my goals for the next few weeks, to get all the girls as excited as the boys about the play and hopefully have them feeling less shy about performing in front of everyone. Overall though, I thought it was another great week and can’t wait to keep working on their performing skills.
We were doing so well!!!!…. and then came some unpleasant ‘tude from one of the girls, and down went the group. We split into 2 groups this week, and I worked with the Brooks Brothers (no relation to clothing company), Iyonna, and Nia. Together they make up the 4 way love triangle of the play. Iyonna was in a really sour mood and more or less ruined practice for everyone involved. It sucked because the boys actually wanted to go over blocking, acting and their lines today! Nia as always was just super distracted, but she got progressively worse the more Iyonna complained and shouted about directions and life, and physically beat on my Demetrius and Lysander. Marcus Brooks got tackled to the ground like 6 times. It was one of the most frustrating practices for me yet. I also realized I know nothing about giving acting tips and directing interaction and movement on stage. Oliver’s group sped right along, and so when they finished we just gave up and gave everyone free time. I pulled Iyonna aside and asked her what was going on. She had a really bad day at school and someone had made a comment to her she got really offended by. We agreed to leave the attitude behind next week. Either way, majority of the kids are refusing in advance to show up on December 4th. I’m not sure how much power they have to make that decision, but I really hope someone can force them to come. It would be terrible for the kids that are excited about this to have their moment ruined by others.
While I was not expecting anyone to show up due to the craziness of last week, I was pleasantly surprised to see the same group as expected with one addition back to the fold. I believe that the roles that the students chose truly will fit their personality. One male student was very adamant about playing the role of a female. As we are putting on Shakespeare, I believe this would only add to the authenticity and we are going to run with it. Additionally, the script is a bit too long and too dense. The students did an amazing job struggling through the tough lines. Unfortunately many of them do not have great reading skills and this leads to the act being drawn out longer than intended. This should not pose a problem because you have begun to see the students come out of their shells and act a little as they read lines. They have in fact become more comfortable with me and have even begun to respect myself and the fellow students a lot more. I think this is starting to turn for the better which is a great sign considering some of the apprehensions held during early visits.
Haley did say that transportation may needed to be provided. I am not certain about how she plans on getting permission slips, but I did ask her to email Dr. Soderlund and she said that she would. With all the new energy towards the project I really hope we can get the kids there to perform. If not, ad libbing works just fine too.