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 them 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.

This week’s rehearsal was stellar. We were happy to see that Jayvon rejoined us after a few weeks’ hiatus, and he played Malvolio. We started with a brief warmup for emoting; each student had to walk across the stage acting out a particular emotion. Everyone did well.


We then split into two groups: Jacob and Natalie, with Dale, Rufus, and Other Jacob; myself with Christina and Jayvon. It is my understanding that Natalie and Jacob’s group focused more on physical elements like swordplay and slapping, and that things went quite well. My little group did a readthrough of scene 2 to help Christina enunciate and read with more clarity. I read each line to her as clearly as possible, then had her read it back to me. The difference was night and day. She is phenomenal. Jayvon seemed rather uninterested but reads very well. I hope he stays on!

This week I unfortunately was unable to make rehearsal. Prior to Thursday Caroline, Colby and I discussed that we wanted to continue running through lines for the next rehearsal. After they met I spoke with them about how it went. They said the kids were pretty rowdy but they were able to get them to read through a few scenes. They said a few of the students actually remembered some of their lines from the week before which is great. They also found out that a few of the students were tested and the tests showed that they are read at a level well below where they should be. Mr. Allen told them that Shakespeare may be too difficult for these students and offered to transfer them out. However they decided that because there are 3 of us we’re are able to split up the group and work with these students individually. Hopefully being able to read Shakespeare will help the students feel more confident in their reading ability and for those reading at a lower level will get them practicing and improving.

Aleeza was unable to attend rehearsal this week, so Caroline and I ran the session. We started late because the students were participating in a large group election activity run by Mr. Allan. When they finished and were broken up into their small groups, we took our group to the Choir Room to rehearse lines. We had 2 or 3 of our original group members missing, and Mr. Allan said they were out for personal reasons. The students were pretty rowdy, so we decided to begin with a game that they all really enjoyed: Museum. When Caroline and I (the Museum guards) close our eyes, they are allowed to move and dance around, but when we open our eyes, they have to be still, like a Museum statue.

When we completed the game, we asked the students if they all recalled their assigned part in Twelfth Night. The majority of them remembered their lines, only 2 or 3 out of the 12 or so students had to be reminded. Everyone then went over their own lines.

When Caroline and I met with Mr. Allan after rehearsal, he informed us that John, one of our 5th grade students, had completed the testing that had been occurring at Bousall that week his results stated that he performs at a 1st grade reading level. Therefore, Shakespeare may be a little too difficult for him. He offered to transfer John out of our group, but Caroline and I said we would be willing to work with him one on one in future rehearsal sessions. Mr. Allan said that 2 other boys in our group also tested at 2nd and 3rd grade reading levels. Therefore, we decided that at the following rehearsal we would perhaps divide into smaller groups to make rehearsals seem a little more personable, allowing the students to receive more individual attention.

We again had an attendance problem this week in our rehearsal. Instead of all five of our students being there we were down to two. However, we found that this was extremely helpful as the two students who were in attendance, Khalil and Adrian, were those who needed the most practice. In the instance of Khalil, I felt as though we really had a productive week in getting him motivated about coming to rehearsal and the show in general. A mere few weeks ago, Khalil refused to read his lines and would frequently make excuses as to why he had to miss part or all of rehearsal. However, this week after we did an initial run through of our opening scene in which the director of Youth life was present (high pressure), we decided to split Khalil and Adrian up individually to work on particular facets of their characters. Dylan and I were paired up with Khalil, while TJ was paired up with Adrian. Our run through of lines and description of the character with Khalil was rather brief considering he is only playing the minor roles of Antonio and Sir Toby Belch. However, after we ran through our lines, Dylan and I fielded many questions from Khalil regarding our personal backgrounds and life in college. In our discussion, we learned a lot about Khalil and his eventual ambitions to attend either the University of Oregon or the University of Richmond. Granted, he is only in 7th grade, so he still has a while to make his college decision. This discussion that we had with Khalil was one of the pinnacles of my experience with rehearsals thus far, and really gave me a chance to take a step back and realize the importance of a mentor to a younger student. I truly hope that we have more talks like this with Khalil because for one, he seemed to be very receptive to Dylan and I’s openness. As a result, after our discussion, he read his lines more confidently and with more purpose as opposed to before. In addition, I think that our conversation with Khalil will help him in finding motivation to work hard in school. Moving forward, I look forward to hopefully connecting to more of our students as we did with Khalil this week.

Henderson was on a sugar high this week. We had to raise our voices a few times when some of the 7th grade girls decided it would be funny to tip over each others chairs. It took longer than usual to get them to quiet down and the girls also did not want to play the games such as where the wind blows. I was very frustrated because usually the older girls in the group are leaders, but last week I was thankful for our precious and well-behaved 5th grade boys.The boys are the ones on good behavior, they read lines when we ask them too and they are even getting excited about staging and costumes. The group complained about needing more snacks so Page and I will be working on that for next week! Once we sat them down they finally went through the lines and Tiffany agreed to read for Viola, which was a huge success. I told her that she can even keep her crown on while she is Cesario if it makes her feel better, which she agreed with. The rest of the rehearsal proceeded as usual and we talked more about the show date and what it will entail. Before we knew it rehearsal was over and the kids ran back to the cafeteria for their closing activity.