Monday’s rehearsal ran a little differently from past rehearsals, as only about twelve students attended (in the past, Bliss and I have had twenty+ students attend rehearsals). At first, Bliss and I were a little thrown off by the lack of students, especially since we had planned to hold auditions. However, we went ahead and held auditions even though we had students missing, as we do not know for sure if the students missing will be returning in future weeks, and as most of the students we have been considering for major roles were present. Many of the students who auditioned were exceptionally talented. This made Bliss and me feel relieved, as we will have no problem filling some of the more line heavy and challenging roles- such as Prospero, Miranda, and Caliban. However, as expected, there were also a handful of students who requested smaller roles, and who were fairly timid when it came to reading the audition monlogues. Bliss and I will be giving these students smaller and less line heavy roles, such as the Roman goddesses and the Boatswain.

As we were able to find good fits for the major roles in the play, Bliss and I still left rehearsal feeling pretty good. Further, our moods were lifted by the enthusiasm the students who were present demonstrated towards the production at rehearsal. For example, one student (Lauren) asked if there would be costumes in the production, to which Bliss and I replied that there can be costumes if the students want to do them. Lauren then responded that she loves sewing and designing costumes, and that she would be more than happy to make costumes for the show. Bliss and I also received a few questions regarding stage makeup for the production. Next rehearsal, Bliss and I will introduce the students to the script, which we’re very excited about. Bliss and I have also decided that if students who were not present at Monday’s rehearsal come to rehearsal next week, we can hold a second round of auditions at the beginning of the rehearsal.

Overall, I was fairly content with how the second rehearsal for The Tempest went. Bliss and I started off the rehearsal with introductions for the students who were not at the first rehearsal. We had about four new students, and I did not notice any students missing from last week. The large number of students we started off with combined with the new students and the high retention rate of previous students from the first week to the second week leads me to believe that we may end up having more students in this production of The Tempest than we have had in previous years, which I’m excited about. After introductions, we played a (very) long game of Zip Zap Zop. The students were much better at this game this week than they were last week, and the game ended up taking around 20 minutes. During our rehearsal debrief, Bliss and I decided that we will not be doing this game next rehearsal due to time constraints. After Zip Zap Zop, Bliss and I led a Shakespeare lesson. The Shakespeare lesson consisted of a combination of the history of Shakespeare and fun facts about Shakespeare. To my surprise, many of the students already have a large amount of knowledge regarding Shakespeare, and are already familiar with some of Shakespeare’s plays. At the end of our rehearsal, Bliss and I handed students a sheet with descriptions of the different characters in The Tempest.

Bliss and I are excited to begin the casting process; however, we are slightly concerned that some students will be upset at the roles they end up with. For example, almost every female student I have talked to about casting has indicated that they want to play Miranda. Bliss and I think that in order to meet this desire we may cast understudies for certain roles, as this would increase opportunities for students.

Bliss and I did not expect to have many students at our first rehearsal, and we did not expect for the students we did have to be especially interested in the Shakespeare Program we are leading. However, we ended up having about twenty students at our first rehearsal, and the students we had were fairly engaged in the activities we led (minus one student who kept playing the piano throughout the rehearsal). We started the rehearsal off with introductions, which was a fun way for us to get to know the students and for some of the students to get to know each other. Then, we played a game of Zip Zap Zop. In addition to serving as a fun activity for us and the student’s, Zip Zap Zop served as a great way to lead into our first acting exercise, as Bliss and I emphasized how the game demonstrates the importance of communication and collaboration between actors on stage. After Zip Zap Zop, Bliss and I led our first acting exercise. We used one of the exercises from The Basics packet, entitled “Head, Heart, Gut.” We chose the “Head, Heart, Gut” exercise because we felt it would be a good way to teach students how lines vary based on the context of a situation and the intention of a character. We used different monologues and scenes from Acts IV and V of The Tempest for this exercise, and provided students with background on the characters and context of the monologues and scenes.

In this exercise, three students stood out to Bliss and me. One student named Chris read a Sebastian line in one of the heart scenes and really got into it, experimenting with different tones, paces, and mannerisms. We feel as though he would make a good Caliban, as he read his line in a somewhat malicious way after he was provided with background on Sebastian and Sebastian’s intentions in the scene. Another student who stood out to Bliss and me was Lauren, who read for Miranda in the same heart scene as Chris. Finally, Bliss and I think that one of the students (whose name is Aaron) would make a great Ariel, as he incorporated dancing into the scene he read.

Overall, I am very content with how the first rehearsal went, and am excited to see where the next rehearsal takes us.