After our final day at Higher Achievement on Tuesday, we realized we would need to cut down our play because the final rehearsal we had done was about 30 minutes long. Not only were we facing the time constraint, but the kids definitely were finding it hard to read a long set of lines, and we figured it would be even harder when they were actually on stage in front of an audience. We also shortened the lines in the hopes of keeping the other actors (who weren’t speaking at the time) focused on the play and ready to read their lines. Because there were such lengthy paragraphs read by characters at a time, it was easy to see the other characters get distracted and fidget while on stage. We knew this would be a distraction to both the audience and the kid speaking, so we cut down our play rather significantly from 9 to 7 pages. When editing, we keep the most essential lines to relay what was happening in the plot and took out the more unnecessary language for certain characters. Overall, I think it was a good decision to cut some lines.
The second half of our work day was spent deciding which props the kids should use during the play and which props we would use to differentiate characters. We had the two different scarves for Helena and Hermia and different hats for all of the boys characters. We had a lot of fun with this and tried to think of what each kid would want to wear. They had given us a few requests about hats/mustaches the week before so we made sure to factor that in too! We think they are going to love the props and hopefully it will inspire them to be more enthusiastic about their character’s lines.
After Thanksgiving break, we had our final rehearsal at Higher Achievement with the kids. The week before we warned them to be prepared for this final day and to get excited for the play because it was right around the corner. We had already sent home permission slips and came with the intent of finalizing who we would have on performance day. However, there were still many kids who were not positive if they could come. Two of our main characters were missing on this last day, but we had enough students there to do a run through of the whole act. Kesha brought us the tentative list of who would be there on Friday and we got a head count of 11 students and were able to mostly finalize a character list. While we began rehearsal, a worker at Higher Achievement called for the remaining students and after that we were only unsure about one or two which was great news. We would definitely have enough kids there for our Act.
The first thing we did once we got organized was have the students line up and walk on “stage” to practice saying their name and character. Then we worked on the switches between scenes within the act and began a final performance of the act as a whole. After giving their names, we had the next scene of characters stay on and read their lines. We did this for the next two scenes as well. The kids definitely needed help with the directions and struggled staying focused while in line, but hopefully the actual performance would be fine. The timing of the play came out to be around 30 minutes, which was longer than we expected. Overall, the final meeting went well but I am definitely nervous for the night of the play. They have been working on their lines but struggle with acting them out while reading them. I think they are going to love the atmosphere though on Friday and they are all really excited about dressing up and getting props!