I think this week was one of our stronger weeks thus far.  First of all, this was the first time that we were able to have a (fairly) smooth run-through of our entire scene.  Certain students, namely Kristina and Tristan (who unfortunately will no longer be attending), come with a ton of enthusiasm every single week.  I’ve learned that these students are essential not only because it of the direct benefit of having students that are passionate in the material, but they also provide an example for other students.  For example, when the class gets off track, I can make a somewhat off-hand comment praising Kristina for her dedication and focus, which seems to bring the competitive spirits of other students out.

I also want to take the time to thank Timone, who in the last few weeks has been incredibly helpful.  Our greatest struggle throughout the semester has been maintaining the students’ interest in the material not only on a minute-to-minute basis, but also on a week-to-week basis.  It is really difficult to keep students in attendance every week and to convince them to come back after weeks that are not all that encouraging.  Timone has been instrumental in bringing these students without a natural enthusiasm for the material back to us.  This week, for example, Timone scolded a collection of about three students who have been coming to a few sessions here or there, missing them when it is convenient.  Timone was not upset with their lack of attendance, but with their lack of transparency, as they were not honest with Timone in their reasons for missing.  This conversation inspired those students to rejoin our rehearsals as one even apologized for their inconsistent attendance.  With these kids, trust is massive.  I have no authority over them and I am in no position to suggest how they should or should not spend their time.  Thankfully, they do trust Timone, and for this reasons he has played an instrumental part in rehearsals.

Finally, I just want to comment on how excited I am about the upcoming production.  Primarily, I am excited to see the manifestation of a steadily growing interest in the material throughout the semester.  It is a really rewarding process when you start teaching a class with no appreciation for the subject, only to find a few weeks later that their interest is growing, and that you may be the reason why.  I think that literature, particularly in play form, is being lost in our generation and to be honest, it makes me really sad some days.  I find a certain amount of solace in the fact that I was able to instill, even if in the most minute way, some love for literature back into the world.

This week was our final rehearsal!! It’s so crazy how quick this semester has gone by. Also, it is so amazing how close we have gotten with so many of our students. Monday’s were a day I looked so forward to because they always ended with Henderson, so it will be sad to have a bit of a different routine next semester.

This week, we were very productive with rehearsing. To start, we split up into our groups and went through our scenes a few times. My group successfully went through it 3 times. They were all critiquing each others performances to perfect the overall performance. However, two of my scholars had zero interest in taking part of the rehearsal. I told them they could give their lines to someone else, and that they can just sit, but cannot use their phones. They took that as an ultimatum and participated in rehearsals.

I wish we had time to use props with them, so that come Friday it would not be their first time in awe of them. However, it would have been incredibly unproductive to try to get them to use the props when we have not reviewed the script enough. So, not bringing them was definitely the call. Also, looking back, I do wish we had more time on the script, but do not think it would have been the best for these kids. They were sick and bored of reading it after they did it for two rehearsals. It was painful to try to get my scholars to reread it any more than they already had to. Unfortunately, that means they won’t emphasize certain parts of their speech or really “act,” but even if we had more time, given their personalities, I do not think many of my group would have gotten more creative regardless.

After some time, Jessie Carolina and I joined as a group. We went through our entire part and timed it to make sure we did not go over the 15 minute limit. It was really fun to watch the kids perform in front of each other. A few of them were verrrry nervous. We finished the first time through and we were just over 15 minutes. We evaluated what we could have done better and decided it was all about the transitions. So, we all went back to our groups and critiqued the way it went.

I gathered my group and they all go, “we were horrible!” I felt bad, because honestly they were. But that’s because they were starving. Three of them were complaining about how they just want food and want to stop because they did not feel well. I told them they were almost done and that they would be able to go home to eat. I then explained to them that they were the best group and they need to show it off to the other groups. I told them that the performance they just did made them look like they were the least prepared, yet half of them memorized their lines. The Macbeth in my part took over. She explained to them that she really wanted to act in this and that rolling around on stage and farting was embarrassing. I was so happy she was so passionate about the performance.

We tried again to run through the presentation as a group. They did SOOO much better. I actually ended up getting on stage with them this time so it prevented them from rolling around and goofing off. Jessie and Carolina’s groups were also great and some of the scholars were really into it! We finished in just about 15 minutes, so if we get a decent amount of kids that show up, we will be good to go!