Act 4, 31 October 2016

Rehearsal on Halloween was both entertaining and productive!

We had a return of nearly all of our previous students, including Dale–who missed the last rehearsal due to bunion surgery on his right foot. He rejoined us today in a wheelchair but otherwise in good spirits. It was nice to have him back. Neither Aisha nor Katera returned, unfortunately (S/O to Thursday’s group–you have them, right?). We did have one new addition, Morgan. At first, I wasn’t sure if she was actually interested in the production, but she quickly turned out to be one of the better performers.

After some brief introductions and an overview of the act, we went through another read of the entire script, which was edited and reformatted during the most recent workday. We made some of the language simpler, included phonetic pronunciations in the margins, and reformatted the script so that it was easier to read. These changes–especially the phonetic pronunciations–helped some of the students read more fluidly. Notably, Christina’s reading of the Clown, who has a lot of lines, improved significantly since last week. We were also touched when she told us “I love you guys” upon discovering we’d replaced the Clown’s original song with Taylor Swift lyrics.

Christina is an amazing young lady. She is high-energy and very invested in the project. But her biggest struggle is reading the complicated language of the play. This has been slightly frustrating for our group, as we have intentionally made changes to the Clown’s parts so that they accommodate Christina, yet she still insists she would rather be Olivia. We will likely end up casting her as the Clown regardless, but we are still working on strategies to help her feel more comfortable in that role. Next week, one of us will work with her, one-on-one, to improve her reading.

After a full read-through of the act, our timing came down to 23 minutes! Obviously, this is not acceptable for the actual performance, but we estimate that the true time is closer to 15 minutes because we had a few interruptions during the first read of the rehearsal. Dale ended up leaving to go to the bathroom before his lines started, and, being in a wheelchair, took a long time, so we had Rufus read both his and Dale’s lines instead. This slowed things down significantly. Also, Kendra…disappeared (?) about 15-20 minutes into the rehearsal, and Natalie took over her role as Olivia for the day. With some more practice, especially on Christina’s part, we think the act will fall within the time limit.

The last activity we did during this rehearsal was another attempt at the emotions game. We started the group with the phrase, “I went to the Zoo today,” assigning each student a range of emotions. Charles is very good at this exercise. The next phrase we used was “an apple fell from the tree.” Again, the whole group was very engaged. Emoting is mostly a struggle for Dale and Rufus, but we will take time to work with them as we get closer to performance day.