On Thursday (10/13), we had our second meeting at St. Joe’s.  This time, we met with the kids in the chapel instead of a classroom.  All four students from our previous rehearsal attended, and a new student from the Dooley Center for Alternative Education joined us.  We discussed the plot of the play more specifically, and we attempted to explain the complicated love triangle that occurs in Twelfth Night (this required a diagram, because even I got confused attempting to explain it).  We started to gauge which students had interest in playing which parts.  Due to the amount of characters in our act (a total of 10), we will have to have some of the kids double up on characters, and Matt, Eliza, and I will have to step in to read some parts as well.  Luckily, most of them were excited and even requested big parts.  Once we felt we were loosing their attention, we decided to wrap up rehearsal by playing some fun games.

Unfortunately I was unable to attend our meeting this week due to prior travel arrangements, but Lexi and Matt were able to go and reported back to me regarding how it went. According to them our group consists of four members, two of which are working with the other St.Joseph’s Villa group on ACT IV. I think it will be very beneficial for our group that two of the students are also acting in ACT IV as they will have a better understanding of the characters and the plot and clearly have a genuine interest in the program.
Lexi explained to me that during their meeting they introduced themselves to the students, showed the group the trailer for She’s The Man to give them a general sense of the Twelfth Night storyline and then played games with them. I am excited to attend this weeks session so that I can get to know the students and begin to introduce them to the play with Lexi and Matt.

On Thursday (10/6), we had our first meeting with the kids.  We introduced ourselves, and gave them a general overview of what we will be doing together over the next couple months.  Our group this week consisted of one student from Brook Road Academy and three students from the Dooley Center for Alternative Education. None of the students have any prior experience with Shakespeare. We assured them that no one would have to memorize any lines.  Our first student seemed eager and excited, and he even offered to try memorizing his part.  We decided to show them the trailer to She’s the Man so they could visualize the plot of the play in a modern context.  Then we played a series of improv / warm up games (the adjective-name game, zip zap zop, “3, 6, 9,” and the number count off game).  Initially, the students were visibly reluctant, but I could see the group’s barriers slowly breaking down as we played each game and I think they actually had some fun.  After this first meeting, I definitely understand the importance of these games to get everyone laughing and comfortable, so the group will trust us and want to work with us.  I think we will try to play at least one or two new games in the beginning of each rehearsal to remind the kids that this will be a fun experience.  We plan to introduce the script and more details about our specific act of the play next rehearsal.

On Thursday (9/29), we did not meet with the kids due to another conflict.  We look forward to meeting them next Thursday. We plan to introduce Twelfth Night and play some improv games.

Lexi, Matt, and I have been very much looking forward to meeting the kids at St. Joseph’s Villa these past 2 weeks but unfortunately we have not had the chance to do so yet due to some complications. During our initial meeting with Timone, the coordinator, he seemed very excited and hopeful about the prospect of Lexi, Matt and I coming to St. Joseph’s for the Shakespeare class. He was confident that there would be a solid group of kids that would be interested in the class and he planned to get them signed up before we returned later that week.

After this meeting, Lexi, Matt, and I came up with a plan for how to tackle the project – we wanted to make it fun, informative, and productive for everyone involved. We agreed that we should start the first class by taking the time to get to know the kids. Understanding that they would already know each other we worked to come up with ideas that would keep them engaged with each other but would also give us the opportunity to get to know their names and their personalities. We decided that we should begin with a quick name game and then get into some general team building exercises, followed by more theater based games. We figured this would allow the kids to become comfortable with us, with each other, and with the subject matter we were going to be exploring together. If time permitted we were also planning on doing a quick briefing of the project with a summarization of the entire play of Twelfth Night and its characters. Assuming that this would take up much of the hour we would spend with the kids we decided that we would wait until the following week to fully delve into our specific act of the play (Act 3).

 

When we showed up for our first day, no students ended up being available for the activity. As it turns out, many of the students who Timone was hoping would enroll have another weekly commitment during the time slot we were assigned. Despite being disappointed that we were not able to work with students that week, we coordinated with Timone to arrange a new time slot that worked for all of us as well as for the interested students. We left looking forward to our next meeting. Unfortunately, that meeting was cancelled as well because of an event that all St. Joseph’s Villa students were attending that day. Again, it was a bummer that we had yet to meet the students, but we are keeping our hopes up for the next meeting.

On Tuesday (9/20), our group visited St. Joseph’s Villa for the first time, and we met with our coordinator, Timone.  He gave us a tour of the campus, and provided some very useful insight on the different groups of kids we might be working with from Brook Road Academy, the Dooley School, and the Dooley Center for Alternative Education.  We briefly spoke with the head of the Brook Road Academy and met three students from the Dooley Center for Alternative Education during our visit.

On Thursday (9/22), our group arrived to St. Joseph’s Villa anticipating our first rehearsal with the kids.  Unfortunately, there was a last minute conflict with another class occurring at the same time as our intended rehearsal.  Therefore, we had to postpone our first meeting.  We still have to organize a time and meeting place that does not conflict with the kids’ classes, so that we can have a stronger and more consistent turn out for the rest of our rehearsals.

For our first rehearsal (whenever that may be), we plan on introducing ourselves and Shakespeare to the kids.  We want to play a few different improv warm up games to get to know each other, to make sure everyone feels comfortable, and to have fun.  We will also describe the basis of the plot of Twelfth Night, and introduce the various characters in Act III to see if any of the kids immediately gravitate towards certain parts.

This was our last rehearsal and we were starting to lose members of our already limited group of kids. One was out sick, one’s parents could not drive them to the play, and the others seemed to be kind of hesitant about attending plus there was miscommunication about how the kids were actually going to get to the performance since somany of the students live far away from St. Joseph’s Villa. It was just a big mess.

This day we decided to bring some props to the rehearsal and the kids seemed to really enjoy it and we ended up having our most productive rehearsal since we started working with the site. It was good to see.

We pretty much did the same routine as last time with having the kids act as if they are on or off stage and practice knowing when to come on or off stage while reading their lines as well. We lost one of our students that decided that she did not want to participate anymore.

Today when we went to our sight we just continued reading over the script but added some stage positions and we had the kids sit down when they were not on stage since we were limited to a small room with a long table in the middle of it. The kids are slowly getting better but sometimes its still hard to maintain control of the group and keep them focused.