Instead of rushing to present our abridged script of Much Ado About Nothing to our students, we decided to use this third meeting to gather more information on how the students wanted to revise Shakespeare’s characters. We first began the meeting by reviewing which students had previously indicated their interest in a speaking part and/or in “behind-the-scenes” work (such as drawing pictures and creating the set). We then got a show of hands for which students were interested in specific roles. Many students wanted to voice Bea, so we decided to split up her speaking roles among 2 or maybe 3 students.
Once that logistical work was out of the way, we asked the students some more questions about each character’s individual personalities so that we could have more to work with while we write the script. When talking specifically about Hero’s social status, we got into an interesting discussion about popularity—how many of our characters should be popular? Can they all popular? I was happy to hear that, while almost all students wanted her to be pretty and ultimately more popular than the rest, they also thought it was crucial to make her smart and kind. The students seemed to naturally complicate Hero’s character by adding these overlapping attributes.
Lastly, we asked the students how Bea and Ben should get into their petty argument in order to demonstrate the “merry war” between them. Many students were very passionate about having this argument take place in the cafeteria, eventually leading to a massive food fight. The other UR students and I supported this idea because it would be lots of fun to create and because it could allow for more speaking roles. Overall, this meeting definitely cemented many of the ideas previously brought up by the students and gave us plenty of new material to work with when finishing up our act 1 script this weekend. My main concern, at the moment, is ensuring that all students get the ability to voice a character if they want to.