I really enjoyed seeing all of the different final products come together! It ended up being more interesting and felt less monotonous having each act decide on their own how they wanted to showcase the students’ artwork, action figures, audios, scripts, and videos. I especially enjoyed seeing how some acts used more animated visuals versus hand drawn visuals. Hearing the enthusiasm some of the students really put into voicing their characters was also fun to watch and made me happy that they were able to get a good experience out of it as well. I also thought it was cool how each act followed the same general plot, but interpreted each character differently. For example, Act I’s decision to make Claudio a girl named Claudia instead. This project definitely required a lot of patience when it came to technology, but I think it serves as a good example of how we have learned to adapt to life during this pandemic and were able execute this play virtually. I really commend the teachers and students also for putting in the time to learn about the play and spend time with us virtually adapting it.

This last meeting was definitely hectic and long for the students, but they were able to finish filming the remaining scenes. They had a lot to film since we were put behind by not meeting with them before Thanksgiving, so they had to practice and film the remaining 3 out of 4 scenes in Act 5. The students were definitely a little distracted and not super engaged, but the teachers were helpful in getting them focused on the recordings and had them stay an extra 20 minutes to finish. Super thankful for them especially as we have been doing this all virtually! Now all we have left to do is put together the recordings once they share them with us.

This week we unfortunately didn’t get to meet with our group because they couldn’t get the Google Meet link to work. However, I was able to email back and forth with them as the point person to give them directions and guidance about what we had planned to do with them. They already had all of the resources to continue filming the remaining scenes from when we began filming last week, so they communicated to me that they would share the videos with me from today once they were done on their own. Disappointing we couldn’t meet with them this week but I’m glad it wasn’t a total loss of time on their end!

This week’s meeting was great because we finally started recording! Prior to meeting with them we prepared a script that their teacher was able to print out for them to read. We ended up starting with Scene 2 since there were only 3 students there today and we only have 3 characters in this scene (Benedick, Beatrice, and Ursula) so they were each able to voice over an action figure. They took a few minutes to read over the lines together then their teacher began recording on their iPad. We had them hang their drawing of the football field background (where the promposal between Benedick and Beatrice takes place) and act out the scene with the action figures. We also decided to have them speak the lines in the background rather than do a separate voice over. It was definitely a little difficult to navigate the details of the script and direct them over Zoom and made me wish we could be in person to help them more. However, the teacher did a good job at keeping them engaged and on task with the scene and we were able to get through Scene 2. The nice part about doing it over video is that we can edit out the long pauses or mess ups after.

This week started off a little delayed due to some technical difficulties with the sound, but we ended up meeting for about 10 minutes over the assigned time to make up for it. We reviewed each of their scenes one final time and had them draw the background for the final scene at prom. They decided to draw an outdoor prom scene on a couple pieces of paper showing people dancing and seating with colorful lights. Overall, due to the late start the meeting was a little chaotic but we were able to come up with a solid plan for the next few weeks. We decided to make a rough outline of a script for the kids to use next time and give them the opportunity to review it to make any changes they want to give the scene their own touch. Hopefully we’ll be able to start recording the first scene with the backgrounds and action figures by the next meeting!

This week’s meeting with HEF was great and hopefully set us up to start recording the beginning of Act V next week! We started by getting more details about what the students wanted to happen in each of the scenes. In Scene 1 we decided to have the conflict between Leonato and Benedick with Claudio to be a challenge to a one-on-one basketball game between Benedick and Claudio. However, before they begin they will hear rumors of Hero’s innocence. We also decided to combine Scenes 2 and 3 into a combined promposal event with Benedick, Claudio, Beatrice, and Hero at a football game. Benedick will disguise himself as a marching band member and sneak into the crowd to surprise Beatrice with her promposal where she will excitedly accept. However, Claudio will ask Hero in front of everyone after he makes a touch down in the football gam, but Hero will not give Claudio a response. The last scene at the prom still has some details to figure out since the student assigned the last scene was not there today. In terms of the final product we decided to record it on an iPad that the teacher has in the classroom. The students will draw the backgrounds of the scenes on big sheets of white paper with the action figures (they decided on last meeting) acting out the scene in front of the background with voice overs. We ended the meeting with the students beginning to draw their backgrounds with one drawing the crowd at the football field, another drawing the stands on the football field, another drawing the end zone of the football field (for when Claudio makes the touch down), and the last student drawing a basketball court.

This week started with some re-introductions because we had some new group members (5 people now with 2 of the same students as in Week 1). The teachers said it was because they rearranged the students based on engagement and interest in the project. These students definitely seemed a little more enthusiastic about the project. We then had to re-assign students to the scenes and explained more about the act to them to familiarize the new group members. Once we decided on which students would handle which scenes, they¬†worked together to choose which action figures they wanted to play each of the characters for the adaptation that their teacher purchased for them. They decided to have Hero as Moana, Claudio as the Hulk, Don Pedro as Iron Man, Leonato as Batman, Benedick as Spiderman, and Beatrice as a character from Trolls. Their teacher was not that good at keeping them engaged and could do better in making sure they’re listening throughout the session. However, as the meeting went on they became more engaged, especially when picking the action figures. It was overall a good jumping off point that will put is in a good spot to get more into the details of the scenes next time. So far we decided that Leonato will challenge Claudio and Don Pedro to a basketball game in Scene 1 and are going to keep Claudio as a boy. They expressed some interest in maybe making Claudio a girl as Claudia and Hero a boy, but ultimately decided against it.

The first meeting with HEF this week was a nice introduction to the kids we will be working with and gave us a better sense of how to move forward with the project. We started by introducing ourselves and having the four kids introduce themselves. Some seemed more quiet and uninterested than others, so we definitely need to come up with more ways to keep them engaged and excited about the project. We then showed them a video explaining the plot of Much Ado About Nothing and answered any questions they had about it to help them better understand what the original play is about. We finished by explaining that we will be recreating Act V in a high school setting. The kids overall seemed a little confused about the project, but I think with more meetings and discussions they will start to understand more. The four students decided to divide the four scenes in the act with one working on Scene 2, one working on Scene 3, and two working on Scenes 1 and 4 together. The teacher was able to help facilitate some discussion and attempted to keep them engaged and listening to us but it was a little difficult to gauge their interest virtually. Some ideas we came up with to try to make them more excited about the project were the possibilities of incorporating music, Legos, or other figurines in the adaptation. In the future it would probably benefit us to have a better laid out plan to keep them engaged, but overall it was a good introduction!