That day was the second time we visited the site. We as a group came up with a list of rules about respecting one another, not talking while others are talking, and a no phone policy since that was a frequent problem during our last visit. We introduced these rules to the group then we listed characters that are in Act 3. We did a brief list of what people would like to be which characters. After this we went outside and played a game called Grandma’s keys. The kids seemed to really enjoy it wanted to continue playing even though it was to leave. We are still trying to see how many kids we will actually have participating.

 

Last week I did not post, so I will make this week’s post a little longer and talk about the plan we developed and the crazy events of yesterdays encounter.

While we believed that we would have a core group, we still may be short in terms of participants. That being said, we will more than likely need to act ourselves and may even need to recruit some other faculty to be a part of the play. The scripts have been somewhat cut. However we thought it would be beneficial for the students to also feel that they had some part in producing the play. We plan on having them cut some of the lines as well. As we comb through the act, they will give there input as to what props and costumes should coincide with the parts of the act. Our hope is to finalize roles by next week. Unfortunately, the plans that were put in place did not exactly workout.

Due to injuries and interviews, I went to St. Jospeh’s on Thursday alone. This did not phase me as I knew there was a core group that had pretty much been assembled. Of course as I called Haley before I left, I did NOT realize how wrong I was. In fact, over the week that we missed a few of the students had been fighting and were not allowed to participate. I figured this would still leave a pretty good group and when I arrived Haley still seemed a bit uneasy about the group. Nevertheless, we went to round the group up and started our first read through. As we got through may be the second page, a fight broke out outside of the building we were in. At this moment, I knew all attention was lost. The kids ran to the windows to watch and I was stuck sitting at the table looking at Haley and waiting for them to come back. There was nothing she could have done, I honestly looked at her out of sympathy as she has to deal with this on a day to day basis. She commented on how cool and collected I seemed, not knowing that I am no stranger to chaos. After the fight ended or the kids lost interest, they came back to the table. As I started to begin again, three students left. Haley gave them an ultimatum that if they were to leave they could not come back. They kids then stated some remarks that I don’t believe are appropriate to relay. By the end of the day, we had only four guys and one girl who was totally disinterested. As we look forward, a lot of extra planning will have to go into the act. Not having enough girls may be a problem, but we shall see.

I do think Haley wants to be a big help. Unfortunately the nature of the environment at St. Joseph’s Villa is a little difficult to maneuver. She has been courageous, and I truly understand why she may need a break. I am worried as to what is in store if she does leave. That will be for another blog.

On this day we were meeting with our group for the first time. It took a while to get started since the school is very spread out. The way that the school is set up is that there are many smaller “schools” on the campus known as St. Joseph’s Villa. The different “schools” include kids that are socially awkward in public school, kids that were unable to behave in any other schooling environment, kids with specials needs, etc. We had to stop at each stop at each school to pick up the kids that were interested in doing the play. Once we were able to get them all we had to bounce around a little until our contact was able to find a room we could use to conduct our introduction to the Shakespeare Project. The kids were very energetic. Three of the kids were excited to do the play while the rest did not really seem like they wanted to do the production so i was confused as to why they were there. They mainly talk to each other and were on their phones which distracted us from telling the group about the play and distracted the other students. We were able to cover the characters of our scene and the gist of what was happening in our scene as well as a summary of the play overall. As we left the site we were thinking of how to get a better handle on the behavior of the group as well as trying figure out how to go about starting the actually acting part of the Project with the group we had as far as casting.

 

This was I believe the most successful meeting at the Villa. We have a rather small group considering we do have a lot of characters in our act. No matter, we will move through the process and quite possibly may have to participate in the acting as well. Moving through the plot was a little tedious. Yet the students were very receptive and even volunteered to read the characters summaries. I think the most important part of our meeting was the game that Kieran led. While the game initially seemed to just get the students out and moving, it led to actual team building. These students do not always interact with each other as they are in different programs. Therefore there is a lack of relationships between a lot of the students. Learning each other’s names will be an important part of the team building and this game was a great stepping stone to doing so. With this in mind, I believe the next time we meet with the students we should play a name game so as to remember everyone’s name. I think there is less apprehension now than there was before with the students and I believe this group could really thrive with this experience.

This is a tad late and I am still trying to get the hang of the timing with the blogs. Last week marked the first time that we met as a group. Unfortunately, the group was not set in stone. When we arrived, we rallied the group from the three different schools. The room that we believed to be ours was either taken or not available to us. Yet after finally getting a room and the group,  we started sharing basic information. The diversity of individuals brought a little disruption as the students all have somewhat different backgrounds. Overall, the students seemed interested and intrigued about how to best be apart of the group. People shared what they thought they knew about Shakespeare and we relayed a small amount of knowledge about the play and the history behind it. Due to a lack of time, we were not able to truly delve into the script and parts. However, we did get a pretty good idea of personalities which may help with characters. As we get deeper into the semester, I believe that we will get to know the students even better and be able to reach them all. One student in particular seems to be a little bit shy about acting. She spoke out and was a little inconsiderate. I still think she may be an important part of the act. Hopefully she will be able to accept what we are trying to do. I do feel more comfortable now than I did when I started. I believe by the end of the program I will not have any apprehensions at all.

Sorry for the late post. On this day we continued cutting the script with a focus on scene two due to how long it is and the long speaking parts of the characters. We also started talking about how we should go about casting and how many people we would need to conduct our act.

Today in class we finished cutting act 3 for now. After class we went to St. Joseph’s Villa for the first time. I was very surprised to find that it was not just one school building where all the classes were like I was expecting. The school is made up of many buildings that have different students in each one. I had never seen a school like this before seeing this one. Many of the students and faculty seem to be really excited about the play and the opportunity to be involved so we will see how it all comes together.