I refuse to believe that this Thursday (12/1) was our final rehearsal and that the show is tomorrow!! We definitely felt the pressure today. We decided to start with scene IV because it is the longest and most complex scene in our act. All of the characters, besides Sebastian, make an appearance in this scene. Today, we worked with our final, cut down scripts and had a good idea of who will be attending the performance tomorrow, and therefore, what roles they will actually be playing. This week was the first time I could really see the act coming together (which was good timing given that the performance is indeed tomorrow). We had Rufus reading Malvolio, Christina reading Maria, Charles reading Toby’s lines, KT reading Olivia, Talya reading Viola, Jayvon reading Antonio, and Dale reading the officer.
Rufus arrived to rehearsal today visibly frustrated. After giving him some space, he was able to participate. I could see him channeling his frustrations into his acting. It was actually really cool to see. Rufus is always cooperative and focused. He does a great job with any role we assign him. I was proud of him for being able to throw himself into rehearsal and deliver his lines with the same conviction as he always does, even on a tougher day.
We continued to support Christina in her role as Maria. She expressed her concern about playing a new part, but we encouraged her, knowing that she will do her best. We reminded her that no one besides her knows her lines, and therefore she should not be afraid to make a mistake and should deliver her lines confidently. She would ask us how we wanted her to deliver a certain line, and we told her that she could say a line whatever way felt right for her. We wanted her to feel free to make the part her own, which she definitely did.
Charles noticed that in the stage directions for Sir Toby that he is described as “drunk,” and he very politely asked us if he could act “drunk” for us. It was adorable. Of course we said yes, that he could make the part his own. He was absolutely hilarious, slurring his words, stumbling around, and having fun with it. He got super into his part, asking if he could have a prop bottle with him on stage. When asked what he wanted in the bottle he quickly replied, “Hawaiian punch.”
KT is such a strong performer. She wanted to be Olivia from the first rehearsal we met her because she wanted to be “the princess.” Luckily, Olivia is one of the characters with the most lines, and therefore, we can really show off KT’s talent in the show. She delivers lines confidently, projects well, and understands her stage positioning. She’s always flexible and easy to work with. She’s just awesome.
Talya expressed some apprehension as we were wrapping up rehearsal about having to perform in two acts. We assured her that she did not have to do so if she didn’t want to, but she immediately replied “I got it.” That pretty much sums up Talya. She’s game to play any role, and she’ll do it well. Talya joined us later in the project, but then attended rehearsals regularly. I am so happy that we had the opportunity to work with her.
Jayvon’s character, Antonio, doesn’t make an appearance until the end of scene IV, but he was super patient throughout rehearsal. We made sure he was comfortable with his props and stage directions. Even though he acts like Mr. Tough Guy, I think he’s secretly a little nervous. We had fun staging his entrance, emphasizing that he enters “running” to break up the fight. Without us saying anything, he ad libbed his entrance telling Cesario and Sir Andrew to “woah, woah, stay cool” before beginning his actual lines. It was entertaining, and I hope he adds his own style to the role in the show tomorrow night.
Dale has a bit more trouble delivering lines and following along the script, so we have him in a smaller role as the officer. However, today he was entertaining as always. He cracks jokes throughout rehearsals, most of them only he understands, but we appreciate his humor and ability to have fun with the play. None of his jokes will top the “Sir Toby Belch, excuse me” though.
It has been a ton of fun working with these students and watching them progress throughout the project. Eliza, Matt, and I have progressed as amateur Shakespeare directors along with them. I am super excited to see it all come together tomorrow night.