On Monday (10/1), Joe and I went over to Henderson to meet with Brandy, our supervisor. What we thought would be a 30-minute orientation turned out to be our first day on the job. After Brandy told us we would be starting that day, we had to quickly consult and come up with a game plan. We decided to take our time learning names and introducing ourselves, giving the scholars an introduction to what we would be doing, and then playing some theatre games. Unfortunately, we only had 6 or 7 students in our group because of a scheduling error. (Brandy told us that our group would actually be about 20-25 students.) The whole situation was… awkward. The scholars did not know we were coming or that they would be participating in a play. When we told them what we would be doing, there were loud groans. A boy threw himself onto the ground in disgust/anger. One girl said she didn’t want to come back if she had to be in a play. When I asked her why she didn’t want to be in a play, she said, “Because the 8th graders will laugh at us.” Only one scholar was excited to speak onstage. The rest requested to play trees.
I tried to get them interested in the play by telling them a little more about it. We asked who their favorite actors and actresses were; the overwhelming favorites were Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish. I tried to use this to our advantage, telling them that they play would be funny, and that they would get to be like Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish. That got them a little more interested. They were even more interested when I told them there was a drunk character and cursing. This probably wasn’t the best thing to say on the first day, but they were really not into the idea of doing a play, so I felt we had to get them excited somehow. It worked.
Going into our next rehearsal, which won’t be until after Fall Break, I’m pretty nervous. I’m not sure how we’re going to get these kids motivated. We could hardly control 6 kids playing Zip Zap Zop; I don’t know if we’ll be able to handle directing 20 kids in a scene! It’s also concerning that they had no idea about the play. They definitely didn’t sign up for it, so I’m not really sure what happened there. For next rehearsal, I want to sit them down and explain the plot, explain our particular scenes, and describe all the characters. After that, we can do a quick read-through. Hopefully this will give us a good idea of who we can cast in which part and how the overall attitude will be concerning the play.