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.
Today we worked on staging! We have been needing to do this but couldn’t get a full feel until we officially knew who everyone was going to be. We needed to decided upon a few of our characters entrances and exits. For example, after Pyramus dies he is also Bottom. So we just decided for Tony to stay laying dead and then suddenly awake as bottom. He then arises and gives his lines. We also had concerns for Moonshine. She always seemed to be hidden but then we decided thats kind of the point. The last concern for today was wear Thisbe goes after the Lion attacks her. We just decided for her to go where she entered from or the side of the stage.
Today in rehearsal we had to sort out the glitter… I mean costumes!! We had many options to choose from due to Dr. Bezio providing an entire bin full of random stuff and Sheryl brought lots of her own stuff in. We all wore a little bit of each which really added to the uniqueness of the characters. For example, I am Thisbe. I would wear my own clothes, with Sheryl’s shawl as a “mantel” and then I wore the gold leaf crown Dr. Bezio provided. Both worked very well together. The shawl was a creamy, white so that Sheryl or the lion could draw red sharpie on it or blood for when Thisbe was attacked. We messed around with costume’s every rehearsal but for the final we finally decided on good ones that suited each character properly!
Today in rehearsal we focused on deciding who would be which character. This was both an easy process and difficult at the same time. It was easy because we have very enthusiastic characters who are more than willing to play more than one part. We also have an assortment of genders and ages therefore we have lots to choose from. However, it was difficult because of the lack of people we had. This made our staging decisions harder because people playing more than one character either had to have time to change into that character or had to go off stage and have a costume change. Overall, we found out how to make it work and make our advantages strengths!
Today is the day!! We arrived at 2:00 to get all set up and ready before all the groups came. We did all of the things we needed to do to get ourselves ready like put some costumes in place and do all our makeup. We even got ourselves fed so that we could be fully equipped when our partner programs arrived. After putting about 10 scripts together for each act, all the programs, and organized the stage and costumes. They finally arrived!! Our group actors got there a little earlier and did a full dress rehearsal which was awesome. We set up all the staging and found a Royal-Dr. Bezio! We also were able to figure out where the Royals should sit in comparison to the real audience. After our rehearsal, many of the other groups decided to do a dress rehearsal as well which was really fun watching all of their acts. Finally, it was show time!! I ended up participating in act 3! I played 3 characters–it was a quick adjustment, but a few of us had to think on our toes and were able to prevail. Then, it was act 5’s turn!!! I won’t lie, even though I had my script in front of me I was getting pretty nervous! Overall, it ended up being so great and what a fun opportunity to demonstrate leadership while getting to know and working with a group of people!
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.