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.


This week’s rehearsal was more laid-back than usual, seeing how we were missing a good majority of our returners as well as non-returners due to sickness and other problems. Taylor and I received yet another email update from Timone which added names to our yet-expanding list of dropped students.

Fortunately, throughout the process, Taylor and I have become old pros at modifying cast lists and adapting to our circumstances, and thus, our most recent iteration of the cast list leaves room for change as well as double-casting if necessary.

So far, we have only read halfway through our script (Act Four, with Act Five yet to be read) but it felt foolish to attempt to read through the entire script with less than ten people, only several of whom had speaking roles. I must admit that I am slightly nervous about the performance as I don’t want anyone flying blind,  but I don’t truly know what our expectations should be for this performance. Eh, I’m a worrier.

The improv games that we played were definitely helpful; the highlight of the day was when two of our shiest girls had an epic, five-minute-long game of “Questions”, which is practically unheard of if you have never played the game before.

Another, sillier moment happened as we taught the new students to play “Zip-Zap-Zop”, and a newer, very vocal student announced that ‘[the game] is a white people game!’ Taylor and I, despite both having Hispanic parents, shared a look that said, “Well, she’s not wrong.”

In short, I’m nervous about how the show itself will go, but I have every confidence in the abilities of the students to perform.


This week was definitely a test of Taylor and my ability to improvise– in more ways that one.

We arrived at the rehearsal with the intention of doing a few more auditions for any stragglers, and then we would announce the cast list and begin the reading of the script.

Things went awry almost immediately when some of our regular students announced to us that Chris, our choice for Caliban, was no longer attending the school.

Our cast list, which had been almost complete and perfect, would now need to be rearranged to accommodate this, and as such, we could not announce the roles nor hand out scripts. Thinking quickly, Taylor and I gathered everyone into a circle to play a storytelling game, in which one person built off of the previous person’s phrase to make a story, all the while incorporating large and elaborate body movements.

Then, we played a more intense game of “Tap-Out”, in which two people will do a scene and when their body is in a position that someone could use to make a new scene, someone in the audience claps, taps them out and begins their new scene. It is a difficult game, one that I have played in many community theatre groups, and I was slightly nervous that the group might have some trouble with it.

I was pleasantly surprised, and the students showed a strong ability to build off of each other and communicate, which will undoubtedly come in handy when we finally finalize the cast list and begin reading.

This week was cancelled for us, but I think that next week will be a continuation of our audition process, as we still have to cast Gonzalo and several other roles. We specifically designed it this way so that we could save space for people who may have missed our last practice.

We have the majority of the roles cast, and I could not be happier with the selections. The lead roles went to the handful of consistent returners, all of whom were passionate about the roles that they chose.

I personally think that Chris would have made an excellent Prospero, but he was extremely set on being Caliban, and I think that he will bring a fiery anger to the role that will be an interesting contrast to his cheerful personality.

Laura is our Miranda, and from our first meeting I knew that her sweet disposition and natural ability would make her into the perfect child of Prospero.

My one concern is with Jack, our Boatswain. When it came time for him to audition, he hid in the bathroom after declaring loudly that he wanted to be a tumbleweed. I think that he might prove to be upset with having lines, despite his ability to speak with intent. But we will see next Monday, and perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised!


Of all of the things that surprised me about the kids involved with the production, the biggest thing that stood out to me was this:

I liked these kids.

These kids, who came from backgrounds vastly different from mine, who had been to hospitals or shrinks or had been suspended more than once, et cetera– they were genuinely kind and fun to be around.

Through the rounds of Zip Zap Zop, I immediately noticed one boy, covered in bandanas on his ankles and wrists and head, danced during every moment that did not require him to stand still. Even after I called him out on it and praised him for his smooth moves, he only shied away for a moment before he hopped from one foot to another.

Another girl, who was admittedly prone to interrupting, asked thoughtful questions about her scene as Miranda and was even able to calm one of the rowdier boys when he had a brief outburst.

As more and more students got ‘out’ from playing Zip Zap Zop, they watched the remaining players with intrigue and kept the noise to a murmur, often asking who was still in and who I personally thought was going to win.

I had been afraid of some of the young men making passes at Taylor and I, but we were met with respect all around, and Timon acted more like a watchful coach rather than a strict disciplinarian to the kids.

I quickly came to adore several kids who, though they seemed shy, immediately volunteered to read different ‘Head, Heart and Gut’ lines and understood my extremely vague synopses of their scenes. One boy, Chris, who had announced proudly at the beginning that he was now celebrating his tenth year cancer-free (and was met with whoops and applause all around) read for Caliban, and noted that his excerpt contained a swear word.

“Is it okay if I use that?” He asked.

“It’s what Shakespeare would have wanted. Let it ring out, dude!” I responded.

With a huge grin on his face, he read the lines with intense power, and practically screamed the word “ASS!” when it was time, which was, once again, met with encouraging whoops and applause from the audience.

As far as first impressions go, I am very excited to work with this group on Monday and to get them started on our next plan of action, which will likely involve more reading of lines from the show and a synopsis of the show, and Taylor and I will continue to analyze which people might fit certain roles.