Monday 10/17 was our first rehearsal in three weeks. Needless to say (especially based on my last blog post), I was very nervous. However, Maddie, Natalie and I went in with a solid plan, and that made me feel good. Hopefully, having a well-organized rehearsal with the right balance of games and play discussion would spark interest.
All in all, I couldn’t be happier with how rehearsal went.
We were back in the chapel, and when we arrived Timone only had Aisha with him. Luckily, a few minutes later more students walked in. We were taken aback by the fact that these were all brand new students: Christina, Talia, Kendra, Jacob (not to be confused with yours truly), and Rufus. But we were immediately motivated by seeing how excited a few of them were. Christina especially was very enthusiastic. She has done theatre before, and is quite familiar with Shakespeare. It will be great to have that constant enthusiasm from Christina in rehearsals. And some of the others, like Jacob and Kendra, weren’t as outspoken as Christina was, but were still smiling and seemed ready to go. Great vibe for the start of rehearsal.
We started off by playing some Zip Zap Zop. It took a couple tries for them all to get the hang of it, but eventually we were going very smoothly, and most everyone was clearly having a good time. Then, we played one-word story. Though the story we ended up with certainly won’t be hitting any bookstore shelves any time soon, everyone was doing a good job when it came to building off of each other. Between Zip Zap Zop and one-word story, there was one student I wasn’t sure of, however. Rufus didn’t seem to be too expressive, and wasn’t smiling much. I took that as a potential unwillingness to participate fully. (Spoiler alert: I was waaaay wrong)
Then, we handed out scripts to the students, and decided that we were going to try reading some lines. We split the students up into two groups, and had one group read the beginning of Act IV, Scene II while the others listened. In the first group, Christina played Feste, Aisha played Malvolio, and Rufus played Toby (I whispered to Maddie, “give him Toby,” thinking back to my earlier concern). We knew from previous rehearsals that Aisha was great with the lines, and this was no different — we plan to give her Malvolio, and she will be great. Christina was very committed to reading and performing the lines, and even though she was a slow reader and had trouble with some of the longer words, she persevered through it. It seems pretty clear to us that as soon as she knows the lines a little better, she will perform with ease. Now, remember that spoiler alert? Here it is. The biggest surprise was Rufus. Though Toby only had about 10 lines, Rufus read them with ease. There were long sentences with long words, and he read excellently. And while earlier in the rehearsal Rufus was very hard to understand, here the clarity with which he spoke was incredible. I think he could be our Sebastian.
Before the next group went, we explained the scene in modern language (using the translation we did in class). It worked really well, and I’m so glad we did that translation.
The next group went: Talia as Feste, Kendra as Malvolio, and Jacob as Toby. Kendra is very shy and quiet, but she was reading well. We will have to work with bringing her energy up, but I think we can! Jacob didn’t seem too enthusiastic about reading at first, but he got through it just fine. The star of this group was Talia. She is very hard to understand (due to speech impediments), but that certainly did not stop her from giving 110%. It was really cool to see her perform it that well. I think this whole rehearsal reaffirmed for me that you simply cannot judge a book by its cover.
We finished off with a game of Bus Stop – highlight’s included Christina’s Taylor Swift and Jacob’s Donald Trump (Jacob has great energy and presence on stage, so we will just need to work with bringing that to the Shakespeare!)
I’m so excited for next rehearsal. We will need to see who comes and who doesn’t. But right now, even if we have too many students, it’s clear to me that we have the makings of a fantastic Act IV cast!