For the first time since Act 1, AJ, Dylan, and I had full attendance from our five students at Youth Life. When we arrived, everyone was relatively eager to begin rehearsal. With Marcus and Tamiya now present after two weeks of absence, we had some catching up to. Tamiya took the role of Viola with some apprehension, It’s a large part for someone who has not acted before, but Tamiya was a good sport about it and seems interested in being the lead role. Marcus assumed the role of Sebastian. This caused some tension with Janiyah (Olivia) because she was afraid that meant she would have to kiss Marcus, but AJ and Dylan assured her that there is no kissing scene in the play. Finally things were coming together and everyone had a part.
Things started to go south however when we started rehearsing lines. We decided to run things from the beginning of the play to introduce Tamiya and Marcus to Act V and give Tamiya a chance to get a feel for her role as Viola. When it came time for Khalil to speak as Antonio, he read his lines slowly and deliberately, as is his style. Midway through his first set of lines, Janiyah muttered under her breath complaining about Khalil’s slow delivery. Khalil overheard this complaint and immediately took to his defense, calling out Janiyah directily. The two bickered across the room with Khalil and Janiyah criticizing each other’s intelligence. AJ, Dylan, and I could inspire temporary cease-fires, but Khalil and Janiyah’s wanting to get in the last word meant extended conflict. Seeing this conflict was going nowhere and was derailing our first full strength rehearsal in weeks, Dylan took the initiative to take Janiyah out to the hallway to talk to her one on one. With Janiyah out of the room, Khalil could focus on being Antonio and we resumed rehearsing the beginning of Act V. However, this verbal fight had distracted our other students, so it was difficult to get back on track immediately. Soon enough, however, we resumed a productive rehearsal.
A few minutes later Dylan and Janiyah returned. Not long after, tensions renewed between Khalil and Janiyah. This time around I removed Khalil from the situation to cool him down. Khalil and I left our rehearsal room, walked down the hall, and found and empty room where we could talk. I tried to listen to him as much as possible and a Youth Life staff member reminded him not to get caught up in other peoples’ negativity. Once he calmed down, Khalil and I went over his lines and I tried to explain the context and vocabulary of what he says as Antonio and Sir Toby Belch. We spent around 20 minutes one on one so by the time we returned to the main rehearsal our time was nearly up. Without Khalil and I, Dylan and AJ led the remaining four students in a relatively productive rehearsal. By the end, Marcus asked to take on a second role and will now play Fabian in addition to Sebastian. I hope the ending on a high note will translate into more success next week. Of course that will be contingent on student attendance and cooler tempers than this week.