As the project is now closing in on performance day, we dedicated most of our energy at today’s rehearsal to staging. We had the biggest group so far today, so keeping everyone on task was a slight challenge. We had Rufus, Dale, Christina, James, Jayvon, Charles, Jacob 2, and Talya participate as Sebastian, Sir Andrew, Clown, Malvolio, Fabian, Mario (nice save, @Jacob 1), Sir Toby, and Olivia, respectively, but for the most part, all the students cooperated and seemed invested in the project.
We started again with Zip Zap Zop, with a particular emphasis on vocal projection. To our amusement, Charles voiced his concern over being too loud inside a church, which we countered by explaining that we are performers in a theater during rehearsal. James in particular did a great job at projecting, both during the game and throughout the rehearsal. Talya and Dale struggled the most with enunciating and sending clear signals to their peers–something we should focus on during our final meetings.
After the game, I proceeded to give a brief explanation of stage directions found in the script and the cues that the students need to pay attention to. We had the group break into their respective scenes and then practiced entering the stage and blocking each part. Natalie and I stood in the offstage rooms and gave preparatory directions to the actors inside each one, while Jacob stood on stage and helped the students face the proper direction and follow the cues in the script. This was very successful, as Natalie and I were able to prompt the students to enter the stage in expressive ways based on the point of the plot being performed.
The meeting concluded with Jacob giving the three rules for performing: (1) never turn your back to the audience, (2) project your voice, and (3) stay in character, even when not speaking. The students seemed to absorb the rules. We distributed scripts to everyone who wanted to continue practicing between today and next meeting. We plan to bring props and costumes for next time.