I can’t believe it is over.  It seemed so far away in September when we first learned about the project and picked the play we would perform.  The performance was a blast! I loved getting my face turned into a moon by Dr. Bezio, and getting to spontaneously act in another act.  It was been such a great experience getting to work with the OSHER participants over the last few months.  They were kind and enthusiastic and patient till the very end and I believe they truly enjoyed themselves. We, “peaked just at the right time,” as one of the actors from our scene commented after the show.  It was very special to watch John act on stage.  He talked a lot about how he was doing this for him, because it was out of his comfort zone.  He lost his son the day before the performance and yet took time to come and rock his parts as Lysander and Oberon.  I am very proud of what he accomplished and hope he gained a lot from his experience acting for the first time. After the show I send the group photos of our act.  John replied with a lengthy email in which he expressed how much he enjoyed the experience and asked us a question, “what did you learn from this experience which we collectively could have done better, as a team?”  I learned that shakespeare still has the ability to being people and communities together. Regardless or gender, age, and background.  Learning to understand shakespeare and as a team to put on a play, or in our case an act from a play, lead to a sense of community and built relationships and friendships that transcend all differences.  This project has been a rewarding experience and I believe we did an excellent job performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream, because we did so as a cohesive group.

8:00PM- After the performance on Saturday, I was exhausted and amazed that we had pulled off such a feat with all of our challenges.

–Rewind to 2:00PM–

Earlier that day when we arrived at 2PM at Perkinson Hall, we started off with getting ourselves ready for the show. Molly, Taylor, and I donned fairy makeup. I was a pretty intense and goth-chic Cobweb! After helping to set up props, our students were the first to arrive to Perkinson. While Taylor was doing Molly’s hair, I went to pick up our students and greet them. One of our students was unable to come but Ms. Ramsay accompanied them. We read through the script while other groups were rehearsing onstage. We then proceeded to have students covered in makeup by Dr. Bezio – Ms. Ramsay kept taking pictures of the process. All of the students were excited and felt empowered with their makeup! The students highlighted their lines while the last fairies went with Molly to get covered in glitter. I got the props assembled while Taylor had the students highlight their lines. Ms. Ramsay offered to step into the Titania/Hippolyta role, which her students loved! They were very excited to have their teacher participating with them. We assembled the props and rehearsed on stage. Each student remembered the work we had done earlier this week and we worked on our transitions. The rehearsal went very smoothly and since I was not in the second scene I directed Benjamin on the sound effects that we wanted. He was extremely helpful.

One of the students came to talk to me about how she had work later that night. She thought that she would be fine because she thought that the other acts would be shorter. I reassured her that if she was unable to perform, we would be able to acomodate and find people to fill roles. (I.e Oliver who stepped up and was our Egeus!) She was upset during the performance and walked out. Ms. Ramsay and I followed her to calm her down. She left in the middle of Act III. Taylor, Molly, and I made the changes to fill the characters that she would be playing. While Taylor filled in as Hermia, Molly filled in as Snug. I acted as a stagehand during the performance. After my performance as a fairy and then switched to managing the props and passing them off to the proper person.

Overall the experience has been extremely rewarding. Despite having lots of problems and issues, we united and were collaborative in the end in order to fulfill the task and perform together. I’m pretty sure the students received a reward for participating in the performance. I was pretty shocked by Ms. Ramsay’s enthusiasm to participate but her interaction really made the students excited. It was nice to see that her relationship based leadership had such a positive effect on the performance.