When I was at Disney over fall break, I attended one of the Halloween parties. At the Halloween parties there is a parade called the Boo-To-You parade. This parade is one of the biggest things that draws people to Disney’s Halloween parties, and happens twice throughout each party. Both my friend and I love the Boo-To-You parade, so we planned our party night out so that we could see the parade twice. The first Boo-To-You parade occurs midway through the party (around 9 pm), and the second Boo-To-You parade occurs at the end of the party (right before midnight). Because the Halloween party goes so late, a lot of parents who have younger children leave after the first parade. As a result, the first parade tends to have a much younger audience than the second parade.

Thus, when watching the parade the first time my friend and I found ourselves surrounded by a very young audience- in fact- the people surrounding us predominantly consisted of parents and toddlers. As anticipated, the toddlers LOVED the parade- they would shout the names of the characters and try to high-five them as they passed by, and were singing along to the music the entire time. Overall, the excitement the younger audience had for the parade combined with the fact that I had not seen this parade since I was seven years old made the experience fun, uplifting, and nostalgic for me.

However, my friend and I had a much different (and slightly less positive) experience at the second parade. At the second parade, my friend and I were surrounded by older teenagers and college students. A lot of the older teenagers who were near us were heckling some of the characters, and others were complaining that certain sections of the parade “weren’t scary enough.” Of course, other factors likely contributed towards my experience being slightly more positive at the first parade than at the second parade besides the audience. For example, the first parade occurred earlier in the night when I was less tired, and I was more excited for the first parade than for the second one as I hadn’t seen the parade in years so everything was fairly new. However, I would say that- overall- the people I was surrounded by/ the audience did largely contribute to my overall experience at both parades.

When I was at Disney over fall break, I attended the Frozen Sing-Along. I had never been to this sing-along before, but had heard really good things about it from people who had been, and was really excited to attend. Unfortunately, the sing-along did not live up to my expectations, and I believe that a large part of this was due to the fact that the audience members were not very responsive to the two actors leading it.

The main gist of the Frozen Sing-Along is that there are two storytellers/ narrators named Eric and Aria who are the “Royal Historians of Arendale” (where the movie Frozen takes place). Eric and Aria recount the history of Arendale, placing an emphasis on the role Anna and Elsa play in the history of Arendale, and singing songs from Frozen along the way.

The audience of the sing-along was pretty diverse, and the age range of the audience members varied. However, no one in the audience (regardless of age) was very responsive to the actors- few people laughed at their jokes, and even fewer people sang along to the songs in the show. By the end of the (hour- long) sing-along show, it was clear that the actors were fairly exhausted, and I felt bad for them as they had little energy coming from the audience to work off of.

On another note, the historical nature of this sing-along actually reminded me a little bit of the song “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story” from Hamilton as throughout the retelling of Arendale’s history one of the royal historians (Eric) continuously states incorrect facts about the story of Anna and Elsa. For example, he states that their parents are alive, and includes an “ice monster” (who was not actually present) in the story. The latter is representative of the way facts are left out/ misconstrued throughout history as stories are passed on through the generations.

This week was another slow-moving week when it came to making progress during rehearsal. For the second week in a row, Bliss and I were met with far fewer students than we anticipated due to sickness, dropouts and other issues. Thus, Bliss and I decided that it would be most productive to spend the rehearsal playing improv games with the students.

Overall, the rehearsal ran well. We played a few rounds of improv games we have played in the past such as Zip Zap Zop, Three-Headed Expert, and Freeze, and introduced the students to a new game called Questions Only. In Questions Only, students are given a scene and must portray two characters in the scene. However, the catch is that the two actors in the scene can only ask each other questions. Once someone makes a statement rather than a question, a new round begins, and the actor who made the statement is switched out with a new actor. The students loved this game and got really into it. Additionally, there was one student who has always been really quiet during rehearsals who excelled at this game, which was cool to see.

After rehearsal, I emailed Timone and confirmed which students have left the program and which ones are still participating. Bliss and I reworked the cast list accordingly based on Timone’s response.

Moving forward, I am worried that not many students will show up the day of the show. The students don’t seem very engaged in The Tempest- in fact- only two of them brought their scripts to rehearsal this past week. However, I hope that we can further engage them in the story of The Tempest throughout our final rehearsals leading up to the show.

This week’s rehearsal was more laid-back than usual, seeing how we were missing a good majority of our returners as well as non-returners due to sickness and other problems. Taylor and I received yet another email update from Timone which added names to our yet-expanding list of dropped students.

Fortunately, throughout the process, Taylor and I have become old pros at modifying cast lists and adapting to our circumstances, and thus, our most recent iteration of the cast list leaves room for change as well as double-casting if necessary.

So far, we have only read halfway through our script (Act Four, with Act Five yet to be read) but it felt foolish to attempt to read through the entire script with less than ten people, only several of whom had speaking roles. I must admit that I am slightly nervous about the performance as I don’t want anyone flying blind,  but I don’t truly know what our expectations should be for this performance. Eh, I’m a worrier.

The improv games that we played were definitely helpful; the highlight of the day was when two of our shiest girls had an epic, five-minute-long game of “Questions”, which is practically unheard of if you have never played the game before.

Another, sillier moment happened as we taught the new students to play “Zip-Zap-Zop”, and a newer, very vocal student announced that ‘[the game] is a white people game!’ Taylor and I, despite both having Hispanic parents, shared a look that said, “Well, she’s not wrong.”

In short, I’m nervous about how the show itself will go, but I have every confidence in the abilities of the students to perform.