Although the Shakespeare Project performance never got a chance to come to fruition, I believe that our portion of the play would have gone very well. Our Osher participants were very prepared for their performance and I think we would have seen some acting from our participants that would have come out differently because of the thrill of performing live. I was very excited to see our Osher participants finally perform their portion of the play because I knew how hard they all worked. Each participant would take their scripts, mark them up at every performance and practice their lines at home. We had such brilliant conversations during our rehearsals about the characters’ goals and their inner ambitions. I was very interested to see the other participants from the elementary schools’ portions of the play because i expected there to definitely be some difficulties with their productions simply due to their ages. Overall I am very pleased with our Osher participants’ productivity throughout the play.

Today in rehearsal we only had four Osher participants come. This made it a very interesting rehearsal because we were very limited in what scenes we could rehearse. Despite the lack of attendance, the four participants who did come were so enthusiastic about rehearsing their scenes that it gave us as directors so much energy to work off of.

While we were rehearsing the topic of the d the importance of actors understanding the roles they are portraying came up. We had a lengthy discussion about why professional actors get so invested into their roles and how it aids them in their performances

We also discussed the intentions of Malcolm and how to play the character. We asked the Osher participants what they thought his goals and ambitions were and how that could be portrayed on stage.

All the participants said that after having one of our final rehearsals that they want to return to the text and read the play again to get a better grasp for their characters. The Osher participants also expressed interest in watching a movie version of Macbeth so they could see how others actors portray their characters. I was very pleasantly surprised by how committed the Osher participants were to their parts. I feel very prepared for our final rehearsal next week before the performance and I am very excited and eager to see our Osher participants perform.

This week we choreographed the fight scene of Macbeth. The Osher participants were so excited to start choreographing this scene and were very engaged. Choreographing the fight scene was difficult because the Osher participants are not required to be off script so we had to choreograph the fight scene while being mindful that they were still holding scripts. We practiced this scene multiple times because we did not want anyone to get hurt in the process of choreographing this scene. We kept the choreography very minimal while still expressing that a battle was ensuing between Macbeth and Macduff. It was great to get the Osher participants’ feedback during this scene so they too could contribute to the choreography of this scene. By far this was the most challenging scene to block because it involved swords and fighting. I was very impressed at how the Osher Participants handled themselves during this scene because it took a lot of trial and error to block correctly. Next week we will not be meeting because it is Thanksgiving week, so I am glad we got to spend an extensive amount of time blocking during today’s (11/13/17) rehearsal.

This week we finished blocking for our entire excerpt of the play. The Osher participants were very eager to finish the blocking of the play and have already started memorizing their lines so that they can perform their roles to the fullest extent. We then reviewed the blocking for the entire section to see how much the Osher participants remembered from last week. Its very exciting to see our creation coming to life and its been such a pleasure to work with the Osher participants. When one participant is absent all the other Osher participants have been very eager to fill the roles of the missing participants. I would have loved if we could have had a larger portion of the play because it is so great to see the Osher participants make this play their own. Im excited to get the last bit of our props together for next rehearsal, tis includes swords for every actor and capes for all the actors that play soldiers.

This week we continued to block our scenes for Macbeth. We gave the Osher participants an opportunity to contribute to the staging so that they could experience leadership with their roles. The Osher participants were so excited to contribute their thoughts to the staging and we got through blocking for the first two scenes in our section. We also talked about the meaning of each scene and how the staging impacts the significance of the scene. Although we did not get through the blocking for our entire section I think the time we spent going through the scenes in depth and talking about the motivations of each character was very helpful towards the Osher participants’ understanding of the overall play.  I am excited to finish blocking our portion of the play during next rehearsal. I am also looking forward to choreographing the fight scene within our section!

This past week we started having our Osher participants work with props. The Osher participants were very excited to start working with props and in a sense i think it revitalized our groups energy. Since the Osher participants are adults, they appreciate having something tangible to connect to the work they do with us weekly. We ran through an elementary level blocking stage this Monday to start sketching out choreography for the fight scenes and staging. We taught the Osher participants some theater tricks with the help of Rachel, who has the most experience in the world of theater in our group. We talked about the importance of never facing your back towards the audience while delivering lines because it emotionally and physically cuts the audience off from the performance and we discussed the importance of cheating on stage. Cheating is when you angle yourself towards the audience even when the character in a play is supposed to be speaking directly to the character. This creates a connection between audience members and the performers. We are excited to add new props during our next rehearsal such as a candle for Lady Macbeth and to continue staging!

This past week we added a new Osher member to our group! We successfully recasted the roles for Macbeth, (hopefully) with little controversy. Every Osher participant was willing to be flexible in order to give our new participant a commensurate amount of lines and roles. We read through Macbeth again with our  new casting and everyone did an amazing job. The Osher participants were all moving around the room while reading their lines and were very involved. They were already ready to start blocking the scenes! After a full read through of Macbeth, we decided that during our next rehearsal we will bring props in so we can start staging the scenes so we can get a better sense of timing. I am so excited for our next rehearsal because the Osher participants seem truly excited to start blocking!

This Monday was our second rehearsal with the Osher participants. This week we started out by having the Osher participants self cast themselves. We took time to discuss each role in Macbeth and the corresponding characteristics of each character. After we discussed the characters the Osher participants chose the roles they wanted to play and the self casting process went fairly easy. It was great to see how excited our participants were to get up and start reading through the play. We had a few last minute drop outs in our group which made it difficult to fill all the parts, but our remaining participants were very excited to fill the remaining roles. The only problem that occurred during this practice was over some of the language in Macbeth that the Osher participants felt uncomfortable with, words such as niggard, which has a completely different meaning than the word’s current association, and other racially loaded lines. Our participants were very aware of the potential impact of these lines and requested that we find a way around this immediately. I was very impressed by the attention to detail each participant had, especially because of the current social climate. Im looking forward to next weeks rehearsal! We will be adding a new participant into the mix!

Our first week of practice went so well! I was so impressed by our Osher participants! My group has been lucky and we were given the privilege to work with adults instead of children which makes our job a lot easier. However, we were not sure how engaged our Osher participants would want to be so I was pleasantly surprised to see their high level of engagement. We had thought that our first week of practice would consist of introductory matters. However, our participants wanted to jump straight in! We did a complete cold read of the speech with our participants just alternating lines, not casted yet. I am greatly looking forward to working with our Osher participants for this projects. We even have one participant who is a professional actor. They all come with at least some knowledge of Shakespeare which also makes our job easier. Our participants are very interested in Jepson’s role in the Shakespeare project and how leadership plays a role in this project. This is something we plan to address in our upcoming practice.