“None Can Be Called Deformed” Reflection on Fifth Henderson Act One Rehearsal

“None can be called deformed but the unkind.” – Antonio Act III, Scene IV, Line 334

As we steadily approach our December deadline, I can’t help but think that things are going pretty well for Act I, all things considered.

And while I just posted a blog recently bemoaning my error in saying “everything is fine” only for things to be dramatically, yet temporarily, not fine a mere three hours later, I feel safer with this positivity post given the issues we’ve already experienced and overcome.

We went into this latest rehearsal expecting to have an utterly unexpected number of people (and we did.)

To be fair, our core acting troupe has been mostly consistent. We seemed to have officially lost our Olivia though and the four students currently without parts are not interested in being on stage at all.

Worse case scenario, we figure that one of us three can take the part, although one of the four mentioned that she might be able to do it, once she talks to her mom first.

Although we were a little confused by that caveat, we assume it has something due to the cross-dressing, given the same student’s reflectance to take up the part before due to the same reason.

The fact that we now have four students who are actively not wanting to be on stage is a slightly new development; they all are exited and eager to help with props and staging though.

The real question is how to keep them busy/productive during our meeting times.

Seeing how splitting up into “line reading” and “stage production” groups went so well at this last meeting, I imagine we’ll do something similar this week.

We’ll have to introduce blocking soon, but I think one more session with just lines couldn’t hurt.

Of course, this takes us back with what I should do with my stage crew.

Although their costume and staging ideas were really fun and creative, it’s definitely hard to hold their attention with just that.

They can also be a little on the loud side, which while I’m glad they’re so enthusiastic, can be very distracting to the troupe running lines nearby.

I might end up collecting art supplies and have them start building some basic backdrop scenes – how we would get that on stage could be an issue however; I’m also not much of an artist and none of my four students have mentioned an inclination for drawing either.

While this rehearsal certainly gave me a lot of new angles to consider, it was also one of my personal favorites, although not because of any Shakespeare-related activities.

Since Halloween was so close, I decided to bring in some candy and other little odds and ends for the troupe.

Although I’d originally planned on just going around and handing things out, one of the students spontaneously asked if we were going to do it “trick or treating style” which was an absolutely brilliant idea.

We divided the goodies amongst the three of us, went to opposite sides of the room, and basically let the students have at it.

If you’ve never been mobbed by a group of middle schoolers all yelling “trick or treat” then you might not be able to grasp the full effect of the scene, but despite the craziness, it was really fun and rewarding, especially when you saw how exited the troupe was.

So yes, we still have some odds and ends to work out, but our students seem to be happy and having a good time.

Some of the actors actually asked to take their scripts home to work on their lines, and while I am immensely skeptical that they’ll remember to bring them back to our next rehearsal, the fact that they want to run lines at home tells me that they are really into what we’re doing.

So while I still have no idea how this final performance is going to look, I’m frankly just glad that we can facilitate something that our troupe seems to be genuinely enjoying.