I was extremely anxious for the performance, but was pleasantly surprised at the success of the entire show, as well as our two acts.
Taylor and I had done a quick bout of last-minute cutting before the show after Aaron, our Prospero at the time, had lamented over the sheer length of his many monologues.
Even on the Monday before the show, we were unable to get through the final act of the show, and it was not until the performance was scarcely hours away that we were able to make it through the entire show backstage.
True to form, we experienced a final last-minute change of casting, with some of our returning cast members taking on two roles, such as Laura, who played both Caliban and Miranda, and Jacob, who played both Alonso and Trinculo, which made for a hilarious final act in which both of them changed character onstage.
All in all, a recurring theme of this entire process has been my anxiety over the project or the students themselves, only for the end result to completely exceed my expectations and turn out wonderful in the end.
I was very happy with how the actual show went. Our scholars seemed very excited to be a part of the performance, even those who had originally expressed that they wanted no part in performing on stage. They were more than excited to get their makeup done and run through lines before hand, which was a relief to see. Some of our scholars even volunteered to fill in for the other groups, including our Ferdinand, who ended up playing Ferdinand for the entire play.
Overall, the scholars were very cooperative with us and the other actors in the play. When it came time for the performance, only a few scholars were nervous, though with all their friends on stage, they really seemed to have fun with things. They really made things less stressful than I anticipated, which helped not only their act, but the entire play run smoothly. I’m very proud of their hard work throughout the semester and during the performance. The end of the play was somewhat bittersweet, as some of the scholars were sad when they realized that Julia and I would not be coming back to teach theatre anymore. At the end of the day, I’m glad that we could provide a fun project for the few scholars interested in theatre, and I’m very happy with how the production as a whole turned out.
The final rehearsal with Higher Achievement Boushall was simultaneously our most productive and chaotic rehearsal. We actually started on time for the first time in a month, though we had our entire group back. The group had also just come from the gym, so they were all pretty hyped up. Once we got them into the music room and they saw the props, it took quite a bit of convincing to get the scholars to leave the props alone. While our scholars with lines were very excited to begin working with the props, those who hadn’t enjoyed the theatre elective from the start were not satisfied to leave the table of swords and funny hats alone. While some of the scholars worked on the pirate ship, others sat and watched, and a disgruntled few sat in the corner complaining. However, once everyone was settled into their costume pieces and various jobs for the day, we began rehearsing.
The props and costume pieces seemed to give a new confidence to the scholars who were performing, which made Act I much more interesting to watch for those who were not participating. Thankfully, no one hit anyone else with a sword, and the scholars handled the props very well. We finished reading everything through just in time for the end of the day, so I felt good about the amount of practice our scholars had with the scripts. At the end of the day, this practice didn’t matter as much as who would actually show up to the performance the next day. Unfortunately, the scholar meant to play Caliban told us that she couldn’t come to the performance. This was extremely disappointing, as she showed the most promise in her reading and performance skills. We finished rehearsal that day with a lot of scholars excited, either for the performance, or the end of their forced theatre elective.
I was extremely content with the way our production of The Tempest went. I will admit that- at first- Bliss and I were a little bit stressed when we found out that Aaron (our Prospero), Lauren (our Ariel) and a few other students in our cast would not be performing. However, having people in our class fill in for some of the missing performers was extremely helpful, and Bliss and I were also lucky that one student in our cast (Neveah) volunteered to take on the role of Prospero last minute.
For the most part, the students were highly cooperative- they agreed to run through both acts once before the show and followed along in the script during the actual show, keeping track of when they were supposed to enter and exit scenes. The only minor incident that occurred was when the student playing Prospero left to use the bathroom towards the end of Act IV. However, thankfully, another student in the cast came to the rescue and filled in for her, and then the two smoothly transitioned back into their original roles at the beginning of Act V.
The students seemed to have a fun time with the production, and many utilized the costumes, props and makeup we provided them. I feel as though the production ran extremely smoothly, and I honestly couldn’t ask for it to have gone any better.