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).

After a two week hiatus from rehearsal, our group finally made it back to St. Joseph’s Villa for another meeting with our students. We got there a little early–despite being slowed down by a confused driver who insisted on reversing her vehicle down the road we were on. To our not-so-surprise, we had many new additions to the group, with only one returning student, Aisha. One young lady particularly stands out; Christina is a very enthusiastic student who has had lots of prior experience with acting, even in Shakespeare productions. She was a huge source of energy for our group today and caused many laughs.

We began with introductions and an overview of the project/play, which Jacob and I explained at an appropriate level of detail. We followed these introductions with another round of theater games–essentially, starting from scratch. Zip Zap Zop, One Word Story, and Bus Stop all made reappearances with the students, who seemed to enjoy all of them. We saved Bus Stop for the very end of the rehearsal and were delighted to see the level of involvement from all of the students. One student, Jacob (not to be confused with Jepson Jacob) put on an excellent Donald Trump impression that had the whole room laughing, and Christina played a very interesting Taylor Swift.

The meat of this rehearsal was getting the group some practice with reading the lines. We broke the six students into groups of three, and then let each group take turns on each scene. We selected scene 2, the Malvolio “torture” scene, and had each group member read an assigned part. One student, Rufus, was extremely quiet in normal conversation, but as soon as he began reading from the script, he was a different person–he enunciated, observed proper pauses, and seemed to understand most of what he was saying before we even had the chance to explain the content of the scene to him. He was exceptional as Sir Toby. Christina, who excels at emoting, does struggle to read the script, but I suspect with continued exposure to the material that she will read more clearly in future practices. Finally, Talia displayed great effort today. She struggles with speech, but volunteered to take on the role of the Clown, who had the most lines for that scene. Enunciation was a problem for her, but she did not give up.

We distributed scripts to all the students at the end. Next meeting will hopefully solidify roles and practice the entire script.