Caroline and I drove over to Henderson expecting to meet with our supervisor, Brandie, and talk about how the program would work going forward. We had no expectation of starting on Monday.
But as we discussed in class, flexibility is key.
We dove right in, and although our group was smaller on Monday than it will be going forward, we still had to fill the time and get to know these kids. When we told them we were doing a play, all but one of the kids immediately started complaining. They clearly had no idea what they has signed up for, and had no intention learning how to read and perform Shakespeare. However, after a few quick theater games, this overall feeling of boredom and frustration evaporated, leading to one of the most spirited zip zap zop games I’ve ever witnessed. They were laughing and playing by the rules and getting excited about it.
We played a few more games, and the more we played the more we got into it. Every now and again we’d talk a little about the play and they started to get behind the idea. We even picked out our Caliban, as he jumped at the opportunity to play the character who was to be drunk and rolling around on stage.
As someone with no theater background, I started to wish I had done this when I was their age. A young Joe would’ve had the exact same reaction: I would’ve felt forced at first but quickly would’ve gotten behind it. I think that’s what makes programs like this so important. Based on what life as a middle schooler or elementary schooler is like, kids don’t always consider activities like theater as an option, but programs like this make them consider it going forward. I hope we get a similar reaction from the kids that are joining us next time.