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.