This week at Youthlife was by far our most challenging. Upon arriving at the cite, we learned that we once again only had three of our five students available for rehearsal. I hope that attendance does not become an issue with the other two students, however, given how much time we have until the play we still have plenty of time to make up lost ground with the absent students. Our first challenge today was with Adrian, our “star” student. Adrian has thus far been the most enthusiastic, and knowledgable student in our class and we currently have him playing Duke Orsino today in Act V. However, last Thursday, Adrian got in trouble with one of the supervisors at Youthlife and for the first 30 minutes of rehearsal was in time-out. In addition, upon returning, Adrian was in a horrible mood and was in no way willing to listen to TJ or myself, or act to the natural ability that we know he has. This really set us back as Adrian is usually the one who keeps the other students on track with the performance and motivates them to do as well as himself.
In addition, we also lost Khalil who will be playing Antonio, for the first half of our rehearsal because he had to finish an online reading test. As a result of Khalil and Adrian being absent for the first half of our session, we only had one student who will be playing Olivia in the performance. It was extremely difficult for TJ and myself to motivate Jeniyah to perform when “no one else had to”. To keep her on topic, and to keep the session productive, TJ and I decided to play all of the other roles surrounding Olivia (Jeniyah’s character). This worked fairly well, however, it did also have its challenges as it was not the same as having all three students act together. One final challenge we faced this week was keeping all of the students on track when they are together. They really like to sing and dance when they are not performing, so in order to capitalize on this TJ and I assigned them to come up with a rap to Feste’s song for next week. We hope that this will help to motivate the students even further by giving them flexibility and independence, and help to align their interests with Shakespeare. Despite the challenges this week at Youthlife, I am optimistic as to what next week has in store.