Monday’s rehearsal ran a little differently from past rehearsals, as only about twelve students attended (in the past, Bliss and I have had twenty+ students attend rehearsals). At first, Bliss and I were a little thrown off by the lack of students, especially since we had planned to hold auditions. However, we went ahead and held auditions even though we had students missing, as we do not know for sure if the students missing will be returning in future weeks, and as most of the students we have been considering for major roles were present. Many of the students who auditioned were exceptionally talented. This made Bliss and me feel relieved, as we will have no problem filling some of the more line heavy and challenging roles- such as Prospero, Miranda, and Caliban. However, as expected, there were also a handful of students who requested smaller roles, and who were fairly timid when it came to reading the audition monlogues. Bliss and I will be giving these students smaller and less line heavy roles, such as the Roman goddesses and the Boatswain.

As we were able to find good fits for the major roles in the play, Bliss and I still left rehearsal feeling pretty good. Further, our moods were lifted by the enthusiasm the students who were present demonstrated towards the production at rehearsal. For example, one student (Lauren) asked if there would be costumes in the production, to which Bliss and I replied that there can be costumes if the students want to do them. Lauren then responded that she loves sewing and designing costumes, and that she would be more than happy to make costumes for the show. Bliss and I also received a few questions regarding stage makeup for the production. Next rehearsal, Bliss and I will introduce the students to the script, which we’re very excited about. Bliss and I have also decided that if students who were not present at Monday’s rehearsal come to rehearsal next week, we can hold a second round of auditions at the beginning of the rehearsal.

Unfortunately, due to the severe weather this week, we were not able to meet with our 25 fifth graders this Thursday. Judging by the varied reactions to the prospect of performing Shakespeare we received last week, I don’t think our group was upset by this setback in the schedule. Last week, after playing an introduction game, Julia and I attempted to introduce the plot of The Tempest as a whole, as well as our part in the show. The children were very disappointed to learn that no one dies in this play, as their only prior knowledge of Shakespeare included Romeo and Juliet. However, they were satisfied to learn that they didn’t have to perform a large part of Miranda and Ferdinand’s love story. The idea of a king, a duke, and a wizard intrigued them, so we will have to give each interested child equal opportunity to try out these bigger roles next week.

The challenge with this group is twofold, considering our large group size. While we have to entertain those who are incredibly interested in taking on the larger roles, we also have to maintain the attention of those who don’t seem to care much about the project. After the first half hour of our first meeting, our group started to warm up to us, so they finally got into the game of Zip, Zap, Zop. Using games they all enjoy and in which they can all participate seems to be the best way to keep everyone interested. Hopefully, now that we’ve completed our script, we can work in some extra sailors and fairies around the island. Some of our most dramatic kids insisted that they didn’t want a large role, though once we finished describing the plot, we had about 6 of those same kids offer to act as Prospero. Next week will be a challenge in keeping the group on track (as much as possible with 25 fifth graders) and splitting up roles in an equitable way.