After a productive rehearsal last week, our students regressed in our penultimate rehearsal. We were back up to four students from three last week: Adrian, Tamiyah, Janiyah, and Khaleel (he was not present last week). Perhaps it was Khaleel’s presence this week that derailed our productivity. On the whole the group had trouble focusing at the beginning of rehearsal. Unfortunately our rehearsal further regressed as tensions between students flared, leading to some physical confrontations. Such aggression tested Dylan, AJ, and I. Eventually Khaleel stormed out of the room, Dylan left to track him down while AJ and I stayed behind to try to reconcile our rehearsal without Khaleel. Without Khaleel we made some progress, but not at the level of productivity of the previous week. By the time Khaleel and Dylan returned, Khaleel was diffused but disengaged, sitting alone on his phone. After awhile we tried to engage Khaleel with the rest of the group again, but with similar disruptive results. We ended the rehearsal playing acting games, which though fun, do not help us much with only one rehearsal remaining before our performance.
The tension within the group makes things difficult as Khaleel plays two parts in our play. Compounding this problem is the absence of Marcus, a solid student who held three parts and has missed our last few rehearsals. Recently I learned that Marcus will not be performing with us any longer. This leaves us with three students who mesh well and hold the three leading roles of Act V, Orsino, Olivia, and Viola. Khaleel plays Antonio and Sir Tony Belch, important characters who are critical to the final production. But Khaleel’s spotty attendance record and behavioral problems make him hard to count on. He has also claimed he will not come to our final performance. This leaves us needing to rely on our fellow UR students for help with most of the minor characters. Though I am grateful for their willingness to help, I cannot help but wish we could’ve completed the play with only our students. For the most part our students are invested in this play, and do not want to disappoint them.