This week was probably the most challenging week of rehearsals yet. When Bliss and I first arrived at St. Joseph’s Villa, we were notified by Timone (our site supervisor) that Patty (who we had cast as Prospero- or- “Prospera”) is no longer attending St. Joseph’s. Additionally, we were informed that the students we cast as Alonso and the Boatswain have had excessive absences lately and likely will not be present at the production. However, Bliss and I powered through after finding out this information and went ahead with our plan to hand out scripts and conduct a readthrough of the script. During our read through, we encountered further issues, as we discovered that the student we cast as Ferdinand (who has a lot of lines in Act IV) has massive stage fright. The student refused to read his parts, and this caused the readthrough to severely lag (we were only able to get through half of the script). Eventually, Bliss and I assigned a temporary replacement for the role, but it looks like Bliss and I will have to recast this role as well.
One thing that Bliss and I realized during our rehearsal was that we were unsure how to address the role of Stephano (the drunkard) to the students. We decided to describe him as “silly” when reviewing the roles with students, and then emailed Timone after the rehearsal to ask him what he thought we should do/ what would be the most appropriate way to describe this role to students. Timone said that to be on the safe side, we should continue to address the character of Stephano as “silly.” I would be interested to know how other people are explaining the role of Stephano to students, especially given that Bliss and I are paired with the oldest age group.
At the end of the rehearsal, Bliss and I felt very discouraged, and I am now beginning to stress about the production. However, I think I will feel better about things once Bliss and I meet tomorrow to discuss recasting.