Tonight was successful, we got through more of the script, but I am a bit concerned that we need to cut more of our script. We broke up into the same small groups, which was nice because I’m finally getting to know the kids and how well they read. I did have one girl in my group who was super enthusiastic, but unfortunately she was struggling to read. She really wants a big part, but I think she will be happy with one of the witches part.
After finishing the first read-through I had my group of students tell me what parts they would prefer. Two of my children really wanted big parts and they were already acting the lines during the read through. I think they will make a great Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. In addition to that, they both also want to be witches. It is clear that the witch parts are the most popular, so I think that we are going to have many witches. I had my students give me their best witch impression again and they really love that. Both girls and boys really love those parts.
Finally, I think for the next week we will tentatively make our cast list. We are not going to do that with the kids. We are going to come to the next session with the list so that it is calm and that kids will not be fighting over parts. All in all, they were really well-behaved, which makes it very easy to teach them. The only tough times we have are when the kids first get into the room they are very restless, but it is getting much better since then, now that they know us and they know they have fun.
At the rehearsal before last, Mr. Justin Long was not in attendance. We did not know why he was not in attendance, but his presence was missed. This week, Justin Long was still not in attendance. We learned that Justin has not shown up to class at St. Joseph’s in two weeks. Justin will no longer be able to participate in the Jepson Shakespeare Project. He was helpful and communicative and he will be missed.
Even so, the role of MacBeth has a new heir. New to the group, Ms. Talia has decided that she is interested in the role of MacBeth! This is ultimately good news, as no other students have expressed interest in the part. However, I have concerns regarding Talia’s ability to speak. When she does speak, she has difficulties with pronunciation. It is often difficult to tell what she is trying to say. Despite this, I feel confident that she has chosen such a great role with the knowledge that it is a role with many lines. If she wants to read them, it should be easier for her to learn to speak them boldly and legibly.
This marks what I believe is our policy on assigning roles: to each what they want (plus a little more on the side). Each student has a role which they feel calls out to them, for example, Ms. Christine decided this week that she would be happy to play the part of Lady MacBeth. In addition to this role, each student must play a number of side parts in order to have a complete set. We have informed the students of this, saying that all of them (beyond Talia as MacBeth) will play some role in the witch scene and will often have to step in as a messenger.
This seems to be the final number of students for our time at St. Joseph’s. It will be a struggle to build the script around that number, but it should be possible. One of the script-cutting notes we discovered on Thursday was that there are entire sections of scenes, like parts of the banquet scene, that mean little to our students. We are able to cut these scenes more easily. We also realized that we need to do a lot more cutting: the reading speed of our actors is very slow and will likely prevent us from having the number of lines we would desire.
Work at the Villa is not without trouble, but is mostly forging onward to success.