This was my group’s first rehearsal in two weeks, so we were curious to see which of our cast members would return and what their level of interest would be. Since it had been so long since we’d last been to St. Joe’s, we decided to start with introductions, a short description of the project and the play, and some theater games. Upon arrival, we saw that only one student had been there for all three rehearsals: Aisha. Timone told us that some of the other students, like Catarra, were excited to participate in the future but had a conflict this week. We did have a lot of new students this week, which might pose an issue in the future depending on how many decide to come back or attend the actual performance. As of now, we have around two full casts for our act.
We began the rehearsal by re-introducing ourselves and the project. Maddie and Jacob did a really good job at describing this in enough detail that they understood why we were there but at a quick enough pace that they didn’t lose interest. We then moved into some theater games, like One Word Story and Zip, Zap, Zop because we’d had success with those in the past. However, they were slightly more difficult this time around because more of the students struggled with enunciation. I think a lot of them didn’t want to put themselves out there at first and were worried about participating. However, as the games went on, they really came out of their shells more. One student, Christina told me how much she loved acting but that she was curious to see how she’d do with a Shakespeare play because she didn’t feel familiar with them. However, when I asked her if she’d ever done Shakespeare before, she listed off around three plays that she’d either read or performed in. I think Christina’s positive attitude will help inspire the other kids and her familiarity with the script will really be an asset.
During this rehearsal, we wanted to focus on reading the scripts, getting familiar with the language, and understanding how to play a character. We broke up into two groups, and took turns reading a portion of the second scene of our act. I was really impressed with the students during this activity, because, even though they struggled with the language, they focused really well on enunciating and making sure not to miss any of their lines. Christina, who was the most excited about acting, wanted the largest speaking part during this activity. Once we gave her this part, we realized that she was having trouble interpreting some of the old English, but with some help ended up doing really well with it. Another student, Rufus, who barely talked during the other activities, really transformed while reading the script and spoke louder, more clearly, and with more confidence. Talia, who struggled with the pronunciation of a lot of the words, volunteered to read the part of the clown and persevered throughout the long lines of dialogue.
We decided to end with the Bus Stop game as a way of ending the rehearsal with excitement. Two students, Christina and Jacob (not the one from University of Richmond) acted out a hilarious skit involving Donald Trump and Taylor Swift. I think that this activity really helped them get into the mindset of an actor.
We left the students with a copy of the script and asked them to read it over and if they felt really drawn to a certain character, to let us know next time. For our next rehearsal, I think we should focus on casting (very tentatively based on who comes back), solidifying prop lists, and working more with the scripts. Our biggest challenge this week was how long it took to read over the script, so hopefully with time this process will run more smoothly. This group seemed to struggle more with the language but less with focusing, which is the opposite of the last group we worked with. I’m interested to see how this will change if the two groups end up performing together (assuming all the students come back).