First and foremost I think the performance went great! When Caroline, Colby and I arrived at St. Joseph’s we were not sure what to expect and which, if any, of our kids were going to show up. Leaving our last rehearsal we were told that all the kids had been given permission the only thing that needed to be figured out was transportation. At St. Joseph’s, Dr. Soderlund informed us that she had been emailing back and forth with Higher Achievements director about which kids are coming. I turned out that only three of our pretty consistent 12 came to the show. The three students were Andy, Seline and most surprising Betty. I say that because throughout our rehearsals both Andy and Seline showed a lot of interest in the play, while Betty most of the time would hide from us and try everything to get out of what we had planned for rehearsal. Despite this all three of the students really stepped up and did better than we ever imagined!
When the three of them first arrived we jumped right in to rehearsing. We had to figure out which parts they would be playing now and who would fill in some of our other roles. We went through each Act and let our three students pick which roles they wanted and highlight their scripts. We had Caroline take two of the roles and we asked Jacob from our class to fill in two other roles as well. As soon as all of the parts were figured out we had them stand up and read through the whole act. Each of our students had 3 roles to play. After our full read through we had them look at some of the props and pick out what each of their characters would be wearing.
As it started to get closer to the performance time I could tell that Andy was getting nervous. I talked to him about the show and how great he’s been throughout the rehearsal process. He said he was excited but that there were a lot of people out there. Soon it was time for the show to start. We were Act 2 so we were back stage preparing during Act 1. As soon as the first act ended it was our turn. The kids went out to introduce themselves and then the Act began. It all went by pretty quickly with many quick costume changes and reminders of what they were saying when to go out on stage. They all read their parts perfectly and made it through the whole Act. At the end they all could not stop smiling.
We spent the rest of the play in the audience. It was so fun to watch the rest of the acts and see students of all ages preform. I believe the play was a great success and a great ending to the semester!
The day of the performance was exhausting all the while amazing to see our work and our student’s work finally paying off. My group was the first act on stage and our students definitely got a case of the pre performance jitters. We had no idea which students were going to actually show up, but we were delighted to have Amanti, Conald, Shania, Aiyonna, and Jamiriah. Conald and Amanti have been our shining stars from the beginning of this all, they were always so attentive and eager to learn, and in turn they each played about three parts. They both got excited for the stage makeup and the three girls enjoyed all of the fun props.To our extreme surprise when Jamiriah arrived she announced to us that she finally wanted a huge part and in fact she wanted to play Viola. She was not even bothered by the fact that she would have to play a boy, she was excited. The smile on her face was all the confirmation I needed to know she was really ready for this! We went over her new lines and whenever she got stuck on a word we would try to help her but in the end I told her if she got stuck and scared she could always skip over a word because in the grand scheme of things no one would notice or care. After telling her this tie bit she seem relieved and I saw her posture relax a bit. I just wanted her to have fun out there and to feel like a success. She told me afterwards that she was really happy she stepped up to the plate, and she said talking to Olivia(Shania), was so easy because it felt like a regular conversation between the two of them. After some slight costume mishaps and a frazzled Amanti, I think the kids were super excited to take their final bows and to look out at the tons of audience members who came to see them. I wish we had put them on the steps closer to the audience because I do realize that they must have been very hard to hear. We encouraged them to project their voices, but in the end I do not think any of them felt comfortable being loud. I was hoping Jacob’s confidence on stage would rub off on them! The other acts were fun to watch, each group had a completely different set of kids that came with a different set of challenges, but it was so cool to watch all of my classmates interact with their own students. I felt that everyone had strong connections with their students and it really paid off when we successfully put on a production of Twelfth Night! In the end I do not care what went wrong because I am just so proud of each and every one of them, it has been so challenging and rewarding to be one of their directors. I am going to miss their sweet faces every Thursday, who knows maybe I will go back to Henderson for my Justice hours next semester!