This week we choreographed the fight scene of Macbeth. The Osher participants were so excited to start choreographing this scene and were very engaged. Choreographing the fight scene was difficult because the Osher participants are not required to be off script so we had to choreograph the fight scene while being mindful that they were still holding scripts. We practiced this scene multiple times because we did not want anyone to get hurt in the process of choreographing this scene. We kept the choreography very minimal while still expressing that a battle was ensuing between Macbeth and Macduff. It was great to get the Osher participants’ feedback during this scene so they too could contribute to the choreography of this scene. By far this was the most challenging scene to block because it involved swords and fighting. I was very impressed at how the Osher Participants handled themselves during this scene because it took a lot of trial and error to block correctly. Next week we will not be meeting because it is Thanksgiving week, so I am glad we got to spend an extensive amount of time blocking during today’s (11/13/17) rehearsal.

This week Timone was absent and several of our regular characters were out as well. There were however several new faces as there are pretty much every week. Since several of our already cast characters were gone, we were not able to get as much done as we hoped for this week. That being said, we were still able to give temporary roles and read through two of our scenes. This was the first time we did a reading on the actual stage which was nice because we were able to begin to stage the scenes and get a sense for were everyone was going to be. This also made us aware of some of the difficulties our characters had with understanding the stage directions however I think that with a little practice this will be relatively easy to overcome. Overall though it was great to see some of our actors really get into the play and try and understand their characters. Some of them were trying out accents and working hard to understand and improve on their stage directions.

As we go forward I am hoping we can get a solid cast that will come and participate every week which will help everyone will get a better sense of how the play is going to look when we actually act it out. Additionally, we will try to solidify our time period, theme, and costumes in the near future so we can modify our staging and such to meet those needs. I think overall we are making great progress and will be able to put on a great show come performance time.

This week we had a week off of volunteering because the kids had a half day. We used this time to further discuss how to best go about our next couple of sessions. Carolina, Bridget and I are going through our individual assigned “parts” and getting a good grasp on how we would describe what is being said to children. We are hoping that the splitting of the group into 4 sections ends up working out well. However, we are hesitant because we know there are many kids who do not want a big part. I am hoping that once we start going through the script, the children will be more interested in having a larger part.

One thing about Henderson that constantly intrigues me is that one of the teachers there is a Jepson alumni. She has helped us out in our sessions before, but usually we more see her in passing. I would be very interested to have a conversation with her. I would want to know how she took what she learned in Jepson and applied it to her work at Henderson. We have been trying to take our leadership skills and use them as tools to manage the about 25 children we have. Yet, we still continue to struggle with controlling the group. I would be interested to know what the Jepson alum would have to say about what she has learned and what was the most useful coming from Jepson.

This past week, we finished running through the script in a more detailed manner, picking up where we left off last week. Since we had some members who were not present the week before, we ended up running back through the beginning of the script as well. We focused on cleaning up the blocking, and the participants wrote notes about blocking on their scripts to remember for next time.

One somewhat frazzling part of our practice was the fight scene – we have not yet blocked the fight between Macbeth and Macduff, and the two actors improvised, but came dangerously close to whacking each other in the head or breaking the swords a few times. We will definitely need to work on this scene, and we reminded the actors to cut that part out until we work on it, for safety if nothing else!

A few members are beginning to memorize their lines, which is great. They do not necessarily have the lines down yet, and needed us to feed them lines every so often. I think if they continue to work on it, it will be very rewarding for them as actors.

Overall, the participants are getting very excited to act! They have even asked if we can organize a cast party for the week of the performance. I think this shows their enthusiasm and dedication to making the play a success, and I am excited to see what we all put together.