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.