This week, for the first time, we were finally able to run through the Macbeth script. To my surprise, the scholars were incredible. The idea we had weeks ago to split the script apart so we could easily divide it among the different scholars, having multiple Macbeths etc., worked out well! In fact, my group loved their part of our act and acted it out with much enthusiasm.

We divided the class into four groups. One group consisted of two scholars, while other groups consisted of around 8-10. I took my group to one side of the stage and explained the scene they were to act out. I only had two copies of the script, so I said I was going to choose two leaders to hold it. The other seven students split up and stood surrounding the leaders so they could find their parts. My scene has all 7 murderers (still a TBD number because we have broken up each line so we can max the number of roles and will most likely condense them to the number of scholars that show up on the day of the play, but to practice it gets them all involved). So while they were all reading through their lines I told them to circle or underline anything they did not know and I could explain it to them.

They followed my instructions so I was able to set up the group of only two scholars. I explained to them that they have the part where Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are talking to each other very dramatically and that they will get to use stage blood. They were very excited. These two scholars were very mature, asking wise questions about the logistics of the show and about the content of their script. I told them to try to practice it through four times once they read through it once, and that when they were done I would help answer anything about their scene that was confusing. Based on their questions I revised and cut some of their lines. Both scholars enthusiastically asked to bring home their scripts so they could practice, so depending on how well rehearsed they are next week we might not have to cut anything more.

When I returned back to my first group, they were very excited to show me what they had practiced. Before we started, I told them that any time someone speaks over the actor, we would start from the beginning. Every murderer was eager to speak their line, so they conformed to that rule after a few takes. We successfully ran through it multiple times, and then I asked them to explain in our english what was happening. They were very accurate and completely understood that Macbeth was asking/telling the murderers to kill Banquo. They even added in words to lines that specifically addressed “men” to say “men, AND WOMEN!!” They had a lot of fun acting it out.

Jessie and Carolina both received great reactions from their groups. Overall, it was a very productive and successful practice. In fact, I do not feel like we are behind at all given all of the issues we have had trying to meet with our site.

Crossing our fingers though, because our coordinator was unaware of the permission slips so she asked us to call the scholars parents seeking permission. For our next rehearsal, I would love to bring props and to run the rehearsal through completely connected. We need to think of a good way to reprimand scholars who choose to goof off though. That will involve removing them from the practice most likely. But overall, I am excited to see how it goes!

We had a very successful session with the kids on Monday! We were finally able to place them in roles and begin the rehearsal process. When we first got to Henderson, the children were in the auditorium having an assembly. When our group was asked to come down to the “stage” area, we were a bit concerned at the immediate response. The 5th graders came down to the stage and immediately started running around. They were yelling, playing tag, and rolling on the floor. After a long talking to by our sight supervisor, the kids settled down and allowed us to get started with them.

Luckily, there was a perfect amount of kids who wanted small medium and large parts. We split them up into four groups and the three of us each worked with one group. There is one section of our play with only a Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and those children in that section worked independently. Going through my section of the play, I was surprised at how well the children were able to read and seemingly understand Macbeth. I really wanted to make sure they were understanding what they were reading, as I can imagine putting on a play in a language you can’t understand wouldn’t be too interesting. After explaining our part, the kids in my section immediately got to reading through. We had limited copies of our script, and they started to fight over who got to hold the script. By the end they were sharing nicely and we were able to get through three times. After reading the script once my group discussed adding in sound effects, how they would act out the murder that occurred, etc. Overall, I was impressed at how well the students worked.

The only not so promising aspect of our session was that there had yet to be any permission slips sent out. Since we hadn’t formally met with the children in a few weeks, Henderson said they weren’t aware permission slips were needed. This makes us worried about the outcome of our portion of the show. We are hoping for at least 10 of our students to show up, and also hoping they will be flexible with doing parts that they were not assigned in rehearsal.

Next week, we are going to work with our groups further and try to get a read through together. We will also discuss costumes with the children and the importance of getting the permission slips in!