This past week we started having our Osher participants work with props. The Osher participants were very excited to start working with props and in a sense i think it revitalized our groups energy. Since the Osher participants are adults, they appreciate having something tangible to connect to the work they do with us weekly. We ran through an elementary level blocking stage this Monday to start sketching out choreography for the fight scenes and staging. We taught the Osher participants some theater tricks with the help of Rachel, who has the most experience in the world of theater in our group. We talked about the importance of never facing your back towards the audience while delivering lines because it emotionally and physically cuts the audience off from the performance and we discussed the importance of cheating on stage. Cheating is when you angle yourself towards the audience even when the character in a play is supposed to be speaking directly to the character. This creates a connection between audience members and the performers. We are excited to add new props during our next rehearsal such as a candle for Lady Macbeth and to continue staging!

This week was a very exciting rehearsal! We finally have everyone casted and started to begin blocking and working on the acting of the scenes. We were missing a few people who had main rolls, so we had to fill in and read lines. This made it a little difficult to see how every scene would look because we did not have the characters acting their parts. Hopefully, we will have everyone at the next rehearsal and can see what a full run through of our part will look like!

One exciting part of having the OSHER participants, is that they want to have in depth discussions on the characters and what the motivations are behind what the character is saying. This makes rehearsal really fun because we can talk about what we have learned in class about Macbeth and then have discussions with the participants on what they think is going on in that scene. We were able to go into how you can ascend to the throne and why Malcom couldn’t kill Macbeth and become king. This discussion helped the participants understand what kind of emotion they should be putting into certain lines.

After doing a run through, OSHER participants like to receive feedback. The main critique  we were able to give them is they need to be louder and they cannot turn away from the audience. Rachel talked with them about how they can improve in these two areas!

This rehearsal was so fun because we started to use props and there was a sword fight! I cannot wait to see what happens next week when we (hopefully) have a full cast!

This week was a surprise. I printed out enough copies of the first scene to have one for each student, as well as a copy for us. My plan was to begin rehearsing the first scene and to get each of our actors more accustomed to speaking and to their parts. However, the Villa never fails to be exciting.

This week, when we arrived, Ms. Talia was not in attendance. However, five new students had joined our ranks! Timone Brown is a force of nature when it comes to getting students to participate. My own talent with names never fails to astound me, and I have proceeded to forget almost all of their names. I hope that this will not make me look like a fool when we return to the Villa tomorrow.

These new people are exceptionally good at speaking! The noteworthy Mr. Jeremiah, who began by saying that he was not interested in any lines whatsoever, proved to be the most capable actor we have seen yet. We hope to see him become MacBeth, but it remains to be seen if he will even attend the next rehearsal. Of those who have stuck with us through multiple sessions, we still have Mr. Kurntz, Mr. Derek, and Ms. Christina.

I realized this week that I am not prepared to deal with special needs students. While speaking to Kurntz, Jimmy made a slightly confusing statement. Kurntz proceed to make it a major issue, demanding that Jimmy apologize and remember to “maintain his grammar”. My immediate response, which I buried, was to call out Kurntz and provoke an argument. Jimmy masterfully disarmed the situation: it is clear that his prior experience with special needs children makes him a very valuable member of our group. I was silent, but I was glad that Jimmy was able to easily deal with a situation that, while minor, was something I fixated on.