Because of car troubles, we ended up getting to St. Joseph’s Villa five minutes late. However, because of St. Joseph’s Villa troubles, we ended up starting rehearsal 20 minutes late. And with the students having other things to do at 2, we didn’t get to have as long of a rehearsal as we wanted. We could not be in the chapel (no reason was given), so we were in a small room with a table and just enough rolling chairs for everybody. But we made it work!
I was thrilled to see that three of the five students from last week were back: James, Aisha, and Jayvon. I was more thrilled to find out that the other two weren’t there not because of a lack of interest, but for other reasons. Katera was sick, but she wanted to return. Dale had foot surgery over the weekend, but apparently was talking about the Shakespeare project quite a bit! This made us feel very happy: the first rehearsal had obviously been successful! Finally, we were excited to see that two new students were joining us: Curtis and Mike. Curtis and Mike are younger than all of the other students (freshmen), which means they have a little more childish energy that we had to control. We noticed, also, that they are sort of a duo – we decided before we officially started rehearsal that we would need to make sure they were both on stage at the same time, so they could play off of each other’s energy. Toby and Andrew?
When we tried to officially start rehearsal, we realized what our big challenge for the day would be: maintaining control. Whether it was because of the presence of the more disruptive Curtis and Mike, or perhaps because the small room prevented us from doing any movement games to release energy, they were all much more distracted than they were last week. All, except for Aisha, who tried to help us directors by encouraging the others to be respectful. We appreciated that. We wanted to keep control, but because they are so close in age to us, and because we didn’t want to lose them by appearing harsh, we let them get away with a lot. We will need to brainstorm how to handle these guys next time if they have the same unmanageable energy.
Rehearsal went well! We started by showing them a trailer of She’s the Man that we thought did a great job of explaining the plot of Twelfth Night. The students responded well to the trailer and seemed to have a better understanding of the plot, but then they started asking about playing Duke and Viola. Of course, neither of them are in our act… *sigh*
After this, we played a game of emotions. On the car ride there, we brainstormed a bunch of emotions and wrote them on notecards. Then, each student (and each of us) took a card. We then had to say a predetermined sentence (“I’m going to the zoo”) in the emotion we drew, and everyone else had to guess. Some students really got into their emotional performance. Others were either barely trying, or if they were trying they were failing to make big enough choices to make their emotions clear. We should play this game again next time, hopefully in the big space where they can add some physicality to their emotions.
Finally, we handed out the scripts, and tried cold reading the first lines of Act IV in different pairs. The students were making comments about the lines, and a few seemed a little nervous once they saw the difficulty of the script. However, they were all doing much better than I thought they would! They were reading the lines pretty well: mainly we need to work on punctuation and (obviously) inflection. We let them keep the scripts so that maybe a few of them would glance at lines before our next rehearsal.
One thing we realized was that explaining the lines in modern language really helped them. So on our workday, we typed up modern translations for every single line in our act. Hopefully next rehearsal this will help them to better connect with the lines and characters! Our next rehearsal is, unfortunately, not until October 17th, but we hope students come back and that we can jump right back into it then!