On Monday, November 23, our group finally had a complete and successful rehearsal… only two weeks before the production. Following the previous week’s miscommunication, we straightened things out with Mrs. Ramsay and sent out an email Sunday afternoon. We showed up to John Marshall to find six students, and two of them were completely new to the Jepson project.
We started out rehearsal with a read through of the entire script for Act 4 with all of the students. Once we read through the script we had to explain to the new students what happened in the rest of the play in order for our Act to make sense.
Following the read through, we took the group to a classroom down the hall that had a mini stage, and attempted to act out the first scene in Act 4. Since we were unsure who would actually show up next week for our final rehearsal, we only assigned temporary parts. We had to double up for Titania and Hippolyta, Theseus and Oberon, and Bottom and Egeus. Allison and I took on the fairy roles and filled in for Egeus, since there weren’t enough students there to fill all the parts. We successfully ran through scene 1 and did blocking with the students.
Before leaving rehearsal, we asked if they would all be returning the following week for our LAST rehearsal. Everyone said yes, so we left hoping that they were being honest and would actually show up. I got the new student’s emails so I could include them on our Sunday afternoon email to confirm if they were showing up or not for Monday. We felt that the rehearsal was very successful, but we also felt anxious since we only had one rehearsal left before the production in two weeks.
We had our final rehearsal on Monday November 30, only four days before the production. I sent the attendance email Sunday afternoon to see who would be coming to rehearsal, and surprisingly, I received three responses! That’s three more than we usually received… Molly was unable to join because of a flight delay, so we updated her on how the rehearsal went and she was great about asking what else she could do to make up for missing rehearsal.
When we arrived to John Marshall, we found six or seven students, and one of them was brand new. At this point, we needed bodies so we were in no place to complain about last minute additions. We took the students to the classroom with the stage and read through both scenes in the Act. This time, we took the prop box to rehearsal so the students could pick out the fairy wings, hats, and accessories that they wanted for their character(s). Although we were unsure who would actually be showing up on the day of the production, we decided to assign official roles so the students could practice specific blocking for their characters. We ran through the Act twice, and went over some areas that needed a little extra work before we left. Overall, a very successful rehearsal for how little we actually have worked with these students over the semester.
Throughout the week, I sent emails to the students to confirm transportation needs and to remind them about details for Friday. I forwarded the transportation info to Dr. Bezio and Dr. Soderlund to keep them in the loop. During the final class work day, Molly, Allison and I sent Dr. Bezio our cut version of Act 4, the play synopsis for the programs, and all of our music clips needed during our Act. We also decided who in our group would be playing Cobweb, Peaseblossom, and Mustardseed.
Stay tuned for a blog post about the production!
This has most definitely been our second most successful rehearsal. We had a lot of new students but they seemed to be dedicated, we saw some students repeat. The student that was very proactive and diva-ish last time helped the new students catch up by giving them the synopsis. One student was extremely show and did not want to immediately talk to us about the conflict that she had at the same time of the performance. Another student who was unable to perform but had attended previous rehearsals helped her friend assume her role in the cast. We distributed the props among the students – they were all extremely excited about getting their wings, mustaches, and hats. We ran through the play twice with Taylor and I donning wings and acting as the fairies. We interjected in between lines to help with blocking and staging the performance. We would stop in the middle of the act to swap out characters, props, and clarify the scene for our new students. After the second run through, the entire room was covered in glitter from the wings. The students took selfies in their costumes and props.
We collected the props, cleaned up and had the students sit down. We asked them about any remaining questions that they had for us. We got asked a lot of questions on the logistics of the performance. We wondered about the permissions slips and asked the students to submit them by Thursday the latest. For the students that did not have slips, we directed them to Ms. Ramsay. We also asked students about how they were coming to campus and a few students mentioned that they would be driving themselves. Taylor and I left the rehearsal feeling accomplished and relieved that we had students to participate in the act. I can’t wait for Friday, it’s going to be great!
(Originally November 16th)
Earlier on last Sunday, I sent an email out the students that Ms. Ramsay had given us. I included a Google poll to get an estimate of the number of students attending, questions, and etc. I figured that some of the students who might be uncomfortable contacting us directly would feel more comfortable emailing us instead. I constantly checked and waited for responses only to hear back from two students. One student mentioned that she would no longer be participating in the project. The other student mentioned that she would be unable to attend this week’s practice due to prior commitments but was still interested in attending future rehearsals and performing in the play. I emailed her back exclaiming our excitement that she was interested in participating.
Before we left campus to attend the rehearsal, Taylor called John Marshall to see how many students were in attendance. Taylor was extremely calm and authoritative on the phone. She updated us periodically during the phone call. After being transferred to Ms. Ramsay’s room, with no response, Taylor was retransferred to the main office. Taylor put down the phone and told us that Ms. Ramsay had not come in for work that day. Molly tried the number that Ms. Ramsay gave us — which was unsuccessful. We unloaded the call, frustrated that Ms. Ramsay had not informed us earlier that she would be absent.
Molly the next day informed us that she had finally gotten in contact with Ms. Ramsay. She was absent because she was going through family issues. One thing that was mentioned was that her husband was in the hospital and that she was unsure when she would be returning to school. I understand the situation that she is going through and although I’m not sure what the exact issue is, family situations can be difficult to navigate. I hope that whatever she is going through is settled and that she is alright!
We may have to work with a different group such as the Ocher group (since they follow our act and are extremely enthusiastic) about the play.
Last week, on November 2nd we were unable to visit the students. We also received an email from the CCE that informed us that we had to go through background checks to confirm that we had good backgrounds. Initially, we were sent an email from an affiliate of Verenda Cobbs that told us to wait for a confirmation and link. We were told (and included in an email chain) between Dr. Bezio, Dr. Soderland, and etc about the new addition to working with the public school system.
In addition, we had not heard back from the students regarding permission slips and transportation for the day of the performance. At the moment, it seems like we will have possibly one student participating. This student has come to all of our rehearsals thus far. She mentioned that she had a possible time conflict with the performance. It is difficult to not feel frustrated when we have had multiple conflicts. I think a large part of this is our communication between all the groups. We have tried to connect with students but we do not know them as intimately as Ms. Ramsey does. We are only there for one day a week which makes it difficult to really connect with the students and when we are there, Ms. Ramsey watches our rehearsal. (It feels almost Big Brother esque haha! But she has been supportive of our rehearsals and giving us space to work with the students.) Often the students get distracted and talk to her about issues instead of approaching us with questions.