Last week we were unable to have a normal rehearsal since Henderson had a special Thanksgiving Potluck dinner and this week is Thanksgiving Break. My group has been using this time to brainstorm on our final paper. I am excited to finally get back to the group and run through the act with actions, props, and full character(meaning accents and whatever else they think their character needs).

This week we wanted to focus on running through our act as realistically as possible. In the past couple rehearsals, we’d introduced blocking and stage fighting, but these transitions often took up more time than we’d have liked them to. Today, we really stressed that all the students should be reading along to the script even if they weren’t acting at that moment so that they knew when to come on or off stage. This really helped us cut down on time, and we were able to get through our whole act in only 15 minutes. However, this might be because Christina, one of our slower readers, wasn’t there today.

This week, we had Dale (Sir Andrew), Rufus (Sebastian), Charles (Malvolio), Talia (Olivia), and Jacob (Sir Toby). We had them play the same parts they usually did. Jacob, Maddie, and I stepped in for the other roles like Maria/Mario and the clown. Charles seemed a little confused by the roles and wanted to know when they would be finalized. We explained to everyone that the show is a week from Friday, and that while we hoped the roles would be pretty much stable until then, they might change depending on who showed up. We took this moment to explain to them that we only had one more rehearsal after today, so they should act as if it was the real show.

This week went really well. Everyone seemed really comfortable on stage and was paying attention so they knew when to come on or off stage. We also brought a couple props and costumes, and I think having a tangible reminder of the show really helped to motivate them. Our biggest struggle was keeping Dale motivated. During the first run through, he was pretty enthusiastic. However, during our second un through he began to get restless and wanted to know how much more he had to read. This is pretty consistent with the other rehearsals. Once he realizes we’re reading the same lines again, he seems to lose interest. He also was very thrown off by Christina’s absence. Jacob originally stepped into the clown’s role, but Dale was confused because the clown was usually played by a female. In order to get him to keep reading his lines, I had to take Jacob’s place as the clown.

Maddie ended up playing the clown in one of the later scenes, and when she didn’t know the tune to one of the Taylor Swift songs, Charles surprised us all with his performance of Bad Blood. It was one of my favorite moments from the rehearsal. Another funny thing that happened was the way in which Rufus kept track of his lines. While other students were reading their lines, he would follow along by using the tip of his sword to underline the words. I didn’t realize this until later on in the rehearsal, but once I did it was hard to stop smiling. Overall, this was a really good rehearsal. I’m curious to see if we’ll be able to pace ourselves just as quickly once Christina returns. For our next (and last) rehearsal, we might want to cut down on a couple more lines to save on time. We did this during the last work day as well.

Our star student, Christina, was not present today at St. Joseph’s rehearsal! Jacob and I took turns playing both the Clown and Maria (Mario, for a male actor). We had a small group today: Charles, Rufus, Dale, Jacob 2, and Talia were the only students to return. We immediately jumped into performing the entire act, and managed to complete two full run-throughs.

The first run-through went well, and we finished at 14 minutes in total. This was promising, but we have to consider that Christina was not there to read Clown–and she sometimes struggles to get her lines out. We will consider one final cutting of some of her lines, and some of Olivia’s (Talia) lines. But I think we will be within our time bounds for the actual performance, especially considering that Jacob 2 said he may not be there (meaning one of us may take his role, which would speed up the performance, if only marginally).

A bulk of our time was spent today on staging and practicing moving on and off stage. While most of the students did well and responded to the cues appropriately (Charles, Jacob, and Rufus did well), others struggled, largely because they were having a hard time staying focused and reading along with the script while their peers were on stage. I think it would be beneficial for one of us to be in each of the offstage rooms with the students to help them follow along and give them their cues if we think they might miss them. Another component of staging we worked on today was the sword fight in the first scene. I took a moment at the end of the rehearsal to remind our sword fighters to show anger as they entered stage and began the sword fight.

Overall, I felt today was really productive, although I wish Christina had returned. Hopefully she comes back on Monday!