Our last rehearsal ended these tumultuous few weeks on a positive note. Marcus returned to our group and did an excellent job picking up where he left off. He seemed happy to be back and was very focused on delivering his lines well. Khalil was not there and the students said that they don’t think he will be at our performance. Thankfully, with Marcus back, we only need a few UR students to step in. Adrian played a little joke on us when, after we explained some logistics for the performance, he said he would not be there. He told us he had a doctor’s appointment right when the show was supposed to start, and then laughed and said he was just kidding. As one of our most dedicated students, I am glad that it was just a joke.
We were able to read through the entire act and work more on blocking with our group, as well as costuming choices and cues. The kids were all curious of what they should wear and what kind of stage makeup they were going to get. We told them to dress however they would be comfortable and that we would take care of the rest. They were pretty nervous about performing for an audience bigger than just the three of us but we reminded them that they had practiced all semester for this and were ready. A sweet moment came here, when Tamiya said, “It’s different when we do this with you guys, you’re our friends.” I really appreciated that she looked at us in that way and that she was coming away with a positive experience. Janiyah said she wished that we could keep doing theater and that she had ideas for more plays to do. I’m glad our rehearsals, though they may have been overwhelming and stressful at times, had them coming away with a desire to do more. I am looking forward to our performance and can’t wait to see what the other acts have in store!

This week’s rehearsal was our most positive yet. Before we started our final run through of the script, we talked to our students about their excitement and nervousness for the final production. All of our students are excited about costumes and make-up, but worried about performing in front of a big crowd, but Dylan was able to allay some of their fears with reassuring stage advice. There was also a sense of melancholy as this was our last rehearsal. Week after week of rehearsal have created a bond between the students and AJ, Dylan, and I. This last rehearsal made me realize how far our students have come over the semester, from reluctance to look at Shakespeare to an excitement to perform it. I also reflected on the enjoyment I have shared with the students in preparing for the play. Though we have not always had the easiest time with our students, I think our entire group learned a lot from our shared experience.

Our final run through of the script was relatively seamless. We had to iron out some kinks such as when Viola should remove her hat to reveal herself as Viola to Duke Orsino, but outside of these small adjustments everything went well. It is important to note we were missing one actor, Khalil, but despite this absence our rehearsal was successful. If he misses the show our group will be fine, but we hope he can make it.

Ending this post on a positive note, this final rehearsal lacked the behavioral issues that have often come up within our group. I hope that we can end our entire Jepson Shakespeare Project experience on a positive note as well with a great five act performance tonight.

This Thursday was our last rehearsal. When we got there we talked to the director about how many permission slips the kids have turned in and he told us that they were planning on calling parents during rehearsal to get verbal permission. When we met with the kids they were all really excited about the performance and had a million questions about what the night was going to entail. We explain to they what would be happening Friday night and then split them up to practice their scenes. They practiced their lines and did great. They all seemed a little nervous but ultimately excited about the performance. We reminded them that if they were stuck on a word up on stage to just sound it out and keep going because no one in the audience will know they mispronounced a word. The second half of practice the director came in and began calling parents. At the end every student got the okay from there parents so we are expecting full attendance for the performance. Before this rehearsal we were pretty nervous that the kids would not be prepared enough but leaving we feel a lot better and are excited to rehearse at the theater tomorrow before the show!

“And we’ll strive to please you every day.” – Feste (Act V, Scene I, Line 340)

Well, we did it.

Sort of.

I mean, the actual performance is tomorrow, but today was our last rehearsal.

And you know what? It went really well.

There were some hiccups of course.

We’re still not entirely clear on who all is actually going to be there tomorrow, and we were only able to run through the blocking once, but we got to see the whole act in action tonight and all of the students really loved their costumes.

I think the most important thing tomorrow will be to make sure we have all the props ready to go and will make sure to mark up the student’s scripts with any stage directions they may need.

We would have done it tonight except again we’re still not entirely sure who is coming tomorrow.

Despite the uncertainty, we decided that it was still worth running the play, that way the students who do show up have the experience, and the ones who won’t will at least have the memory.

We gave away most of the posters as well and a couple of the kids even kept their name tags.

I’m not sure what our act is going to look like tomorrow, but if nothing else tonight felt like a win, and whether I’m doing props backstage or playing six different roles tomorrow tonight, I suspect the performance is going to feel like a win too.

Final Rehearsal!

It was an exciting and stressful afternoon during the last week of classes, but going to Henderson was an amazing break that seems to exhaust me and recharge me all at once. The start of rehearsal was rough, some of the girls lied to us and said they had to go to a cooking class and there was no cooking class so I had to track them down and bring them to the music room. Then when we asked who was coming tomorrow almost all of them said no which was great. On the bright side some of the kids, for example Conald, are just so talented and engaged. They need no direction and they just understand the weird ways in which Shakespeare wrote. Other struggle to get through their lines still such as Tyvell, but he makes such a valiant effort, he was also so excited to be dressed in his cape and crown today while rehearsing. While we couldn’t get the kids to use their bodies with the lines they were speaking, we did get them on their feet finally and directed at the person to whom they are speaking with. We got through the entire act once and it went really well. I still do not know who we will have tomorrow but I think I may have bribed one more person with the promise of food.