As soon as we arrived today, I was happy to see some faces for the first time in a while, including Destiny, Jayvon, and Keteira, and a couple new ones as well. One of these is James, who has met with the Monday group and played the part of Malvolio, which he may continue with our group. He seemed to be so enthusiastic about the show and eager to contribute, even offering to memorize his lines and ensuring that his friends were speaking loud enough on the stage so that an audience would be able to hear them.

We also had Charles, Talya, Rufus, and Christina, which gave us 8 total people – the most we have had for a rehearsal so far. After our last group meeting, we cut down some parts of the script even further, and changed some words to make it more readable, which helped a bit. We struggled once again with Christina, who really wants to play the role of Olivia, but would have to read a lot of difficult lines that she may not be able to work through, and this was frustrating Destiny, who was playing Viola in Scene 1 where it is just Olivia and Viola speaking. After we got through the scene, Christina walked up to me and told me that sometimes when she doesn’t know a line, she freezes up, so I reminded her that if she just does her best with the reading, and focuses on the acting, nobody will even notices if she messes up a word or two.

Keteira, who played a couple of different roles today, is one of our strongest readers, and she speaks loudly enough that we know we won’t have any issues with our audience hearing her. But since we have a couple of small scenes with only 2 actors on the stage at a time, we had trouble keeping our bigger group engaged and listening to the rest of the act, especially if people were struggling with lines. Thankfully, the last scene involves all of our actors, and people paid more attention.

After the rehearsal, we played a game where one person had to act out specific emotions using only facial expressions and everyone else had to try to guess what they were, which ended up being a lot of fun because some people, like Charles, got creative with emotions such as “flirtatious” or “really?”

I would definitely consider today a success, but we know that we have a few things to do in order to make sure we have a seamless performance. With one rehearsal left, the day before the actual show, we have to make sure that people know which (or have an idea) role they will be playing, which scenes they are involved in, and which costumes/props they will need. I think it might be a good idea to print different scripts with different roles highlighted in each, that we people don’t accidentally miss a line or forget to walk on/off stage when they need to. I am glad that our actors seem to be looking forward to the performance, and I know that when we meet next, they will be really motivated to learn because it will be their last chance to perfect their roles and lines.

Last week when we met with the students from St. Joseph’s Villa, we were surprised to see that we had a couple more new students, Christina and Dale, but were missing our core group of Aicha, Keteira, Jayvon, and Destiny that we had since week 1 or 2. The only constant actor who we have had for every week is Charles, who is extremely well-behaved when we meet, and is usually quick to make a joke, but he was in a bit of a sad mood due to the recent passing of his grandmother.

We worked on reading lines, and rehearsed all of our scenes. One issue that we noticed is that both Christina and Dale could not read at the same level as the rest of the students, so Christina became frustrated both in her own abilities, and in the abilities of Dale. We worked past this by talking to Christina, telling her to focus less on the content of the lines, and more on the acting and the delivery of the lines, which she enjoyed, and acting out certain parts of the scene and moving around gave her more confidence in her own ability. Rufus also began to get frustrated, and even though he is a great reader, he may lose his focus if things are not going smoothly around him.

In all, this week honestly felt like it may have been a step back for us, mostly because we haven’t a consistent group, which makes it challenging to make sure that everyone is on the same page with roles, stage directions, and important plot points. I spoke to Timone a bit toward the end of the session, and asked him if he thought that the other students we were missing would be able to come for the remaining 2 sessions and the show, and he basically told me that it is hard for him to tell since students often won’t come in on certain days and he can’t do too much about it.

It is seeming more and more like Act III will be patched together at the last second, but Lexi, Eliza, and I are going to continue to make preparations so that we are ready for whatever situation we are faced with.


This week’s rehearsal got us one step closer to being performance-ready. Marcus and Khalil were absent so we were able to work more closely with Janiyah, Tamiya, and Adrian. We went through each of their lines to make sure they could pronounce each word and worked more on the proper inflection and tone of the words. Adrian has memorized a decent amount of his lines, which is very impressive. The girls were thrown off a bit when they were reminded that their characters were both ending the play involved with one of the boys, but we reminded them that it was just pretend. The girls are also excited about wearing costumes. To end rehearsal, the students decided on the song for the end of the play. They all knew a dance for one song, “Juju on that Beat,” so all of our characters will end the show on stage doing that dance. We only have two more rehearsals left but in terms of knowing lines, our students are in good shape.

It was great being back at St.Joseph’s this week! We worked with three students I had never met before and one student who was at the last session I attended. When we walked in, one of the students (Rufus) was playing the piano. He was very talented and told us what his favorite songs to play are. It was clear that he was excited that we were interested and that he was proud of his skills. Lexi, Matt, and I commented that it would be great if he could play the piano either at some point during the performance or as the audience entered the venue.

All four students had also worked with the Monday group (ACT IV) so they were familiar with the plot and the characters. This was very helpful because we were able to jump right into physically acting out ACT III. Matt and I worked with Cristina and Rufus on the Viola and Olivia exchange in Scene I, while Lexi worked with Dale and Charles on Scene II. It was nice to have such a small group and be able to split up like this because we were able to give the students very personal attention. Cristina and Dale struggled a bit with reading through the lines, so as we went through I circled all the words they had a hard time with. In class yesterday, Lexi and I went through the script and attempted to change some of the words that they were struggling with to make it more approachable.

The only issue we really ran into was Cristina calling Dale – who had the most trouble with the script – slow and stupid. Dale didn’t take her comments personally and was able to keep his sense of humor – even saying “excuse me” after every time he mentioned his character (Sir Toby Belch). This provided us all with quite a bit of entertainment, and hopefully we can utilize Dales sense of humor when assigning him a role in the final production.

Overall, it was a productive hour, and I think we all learned a lot about what our roles are going to be in the final production. Some of the students will not need our help at all but others may need more guidance and direction during the performance. It is a little bit difficult working with different kids each week because the work feels inconsistent and progress isn’t very visible, but hopefully we will have a great showing for the final performance. At least we know the students are enthusiastic and willing to roll with the punches!