We had two students for our seventh week, which was not ideal but ended up almost as a blessing in disguise. we kicked off our rehearsal by reading through part of the scene for the director of the Youth Life program. Hopefully that gave the students some confidence for when they are in front of a full audience. We then were able to break into two groups with our two students. TJ worked with Adrian and AJ and I worked with Khalil. I was very proud of how far Khalil has come since the beginning of this project. By working with just him, we were able to really help him read through his lines and help him fully understand it. AJ and I were also able to get to know him better and learn of his passion for basketball, and his dreams of going to college. I am glad that he felt comfortable enough to talk to us about things like school because it is so important at his age to be able to do that. Knowing that doing this Shakespeare project is bringing him some motivation to keep trying in school means the world. Hopefully we can keep his spirits high and form the kind of trust with the other students that we are building with Khalil. I think Act V will definitely benefit from more open communication between TJ, AJ, and myself and the students. We all want to get to know each other so I think from now on we could take a few minutes at our rehearsals to just talk to each other about things outside of Shakespeare to improve our relationships with one another. This also reminds the students that we are just like them, students, and are only there to help.

Week 6 provided a solid rehearsal for Act V. We were able to run through the script with all of our students and once again discuss who their characters were and how they would feel with different lines. We tried to keep the kids focused by playing the one word sentence game, but some were a little tougher than others. The girls grew a bit restless that the boys were not completely following the instructions, so there was a bit of tension there. We made an effort to get one good sentence before returning to our play rehearsal. The lines are starting to sound more like Shakespeare and I can only imagine will continue to improve in the weeks leading to the final production.

Most of our students had a homecoming flag football game scheduled during the same time as our session this week so unfortunately St.Joseph’s had to cancel again. Hopefully next week we will be back on and can get started on some actual stage direction with the students to start preparing them for the final performance which is quickly approaching.

I was unable to attend this week due to prior travel arrangements again. I am disappointed that I have had to miss two important sessions, but luckily Matt and Lexi have kept me up to date when I have had to miss. They reported back that, as planned, they did a read through of the script with the students that showed up – this time five new students showed up along with three of the students from the past session. They explained that they had to improvise for role assignments because of the change in students attending but that they had a really great, productive session. They said that during the read through everyone read the lines very well which sounds very promising for our progress with the group going forward. Knowing that the students are able and willing to tackle the tough Shakespeare language is great and I can’t wait to be in attendance for the next session.

Due to the students being on a college tour that took longer than expected, this session was unfortunately cancelled. While it is a bummer not to begin the process of rehearsing with the students, we look forward to getting started on this process the next time we meet with them. For the next meeting we plan to have our script as finalized as possible so that we can do a read through with the students in the parts that they requested. We are all hoping this goes well so that for the next class we can do read throughs while actually going through some of the physical acting involved in ACT III.

This week was my first week actually working with the students at St.Josephs and it was great! We met with five students, four who Lexi and Matt told me had attended the last session, and one new one. We did a quick round of introductions so that I could get familiar with the group. They all seemed very enthusiastic and willing to be there which was very promising and encouraging. They wanted to play some of the theater warm-up games that they had played the previous week, and with the Monday group, so we started off with a couple rounds of games before getting down to business. Lexi, Matt, and I hoped to get the students a little bit more familiar with the play so that we could start reading lines the next time we met with them. To do this, we discussed the plot of the play as a whole, answering their questions as we went along, and then delved more into the details of ACT III. We then went over all of the characters involved in ACT III and as we described them, the students immediately started exclaiming “I want to be that one” when they heard a description they liked. Luckily, it worked out well, and all of the students were excited about different parts than their classmates. Most of them were even willing to play two parts, which likely will need to happen as ACT III has so many characters. After resolving the characters, the students naturally wanted to go back to games so we ended up playing ZIP-ZAP-ZOP and a couple rounds of 7-UP to round out the session.

Overall it was both a fun and productive session and I’m looking forward to the weeks ahead when we will begin to actually rehearse ACT III with the students. Hopefully in the upcoming weeks we will consistently have most of the same students, so that they can get comfortable with their roles before the big performance.

This rehearsal we only had two students attend, Adrian and Khalil. To make the most of this, we split the students apart into separates to focus on their lines and delivery. I worked closely with Adrian who, free from the distractions of other students, got a lot out of his one-on-one rehearsal. He marked up his script regarding emotional inflections in his lines and really enjoyed the extra attention. He asked questions about words he didn’t understand which helped him better understand his character as Duke Orsino. Khalil also seemed to benefit from the individualized attention, especially when it came to figuring out word pronunciations. I’m hoping that at our next rehearsal this individualized attention will translate into a successful group rehearsal next time.

We were once again unable to meet with our students at St. Joseph’s Villa this week because of a, “Homecoming flag football game” that most of the students would be attending. I have confirmed our meeting for next week as set in stone, so it will be our 3rd to last meeting before the production, unless something else arises and we are unable to meet. With that in mind, Eliza, Lexi, and I are going into the next session with the mindset that we have to prepare┬áthem for the show quickly, regardless of whether they have roles set in stone or not. This means working on staging, transitions between scenes, and things that many of the students have not seen before, so we should have an interesting class ahead of us.