After spending the semester at St. Joseph’s Villa, I am very pleased overall with Act 4’s performance in Twelfth Night. Our solid core members all showed up for the performance: Rufus as Sebastian, Charles as Malvolio, Christina as the Clown, Dale as Sir Andrew, and Talia as Olivia. I played Mario and Jacob played Sir Toby/The Priest. Our actors excelled in projection and seemed to enjoy themselves on stage, which were some of the most important parts of the performance. They were good sports and seemed proud of themselves afterward!
A few comical highlights:
- Christina, the sweet young lady who played the Clown, had some…issues with her trousers during the performance (i.e. they fell down quite a bit). Poor girl! Luckily, she seemed so focused on the performance itself that I’m not even sure she really noticed it enough to be embarrassed.
- On the upside for Christina, she decided to add in a clown nose just before going on stage, which she originally didn’t want to do.
- Our “prison door” made of giant tinker toys almost took a tumble during scene 2. Luckily, a quick scramble by Dr. Bezio, and later Natalie, saved the scene, and the actors continued, unperturbed.
- Charles did a hilarious improvisation during Christina’s final song in scene 2, to the point where Jacob actually laughed out loud backstage.
I think our group’s performance had a good vibe to it, focused but lighthearted. The students really took the spotlight and dominated the stage. Our timing was stellar and our students were just awesome!
There were certainly some challenges in Act 4, though. I’ll list them:
- About an hour prior to the performance, we met up with Act 3 to do a final read-through of both the scripts. Act 3 was also at St. Joe’s and had many of the same students as Act 4, so we felt that this collaboration would help get everyone on the same page. However, Act 3’s script is a LOT longer than ours, and it took the students so long to read through the entire thing that Act 4 didn’t even get the chance to review the script with them. This was a major cause of concern for us, because that put our kids at a huge disadvantage, being the only Monday group (I think?). This meant that our kids’ last full read was on Monday, as opposed to all the other groups, who got to read through on Thursday or even immediately before the performance.
- Most of the students came in feeling nervous, stressed, or otherwise flustered. Rufus was a particular concern; I asked him how he was feeling when he came in and he sort of blew up at me, exclaiming “I don’t feel very good at all!” I gave him some space and left him alone for a while to center himself after that. Christina was also anxious, although she exhibited a little more emotional regulation than Rufus. I think that has to do with her previous theater experience.
- Rufus’s anxiety became alarming just as we were about to begin Act 4, when his shoes got tangled in the garter from Act 3. This caused a huge delay in transition between Act 3 and 4, and left Rufus very upset and ruffled. I helped calm him down backstage for a moment, having him do a few deep breaths, then gave him his sword and his script and sent him off. As soon as he was back on stage, he transformed and got all his confidence and gusto back. Well done, Rufus! Great recovery.
- Speaking of the transition–ours was not the smoothest! This largely had to do with the Rufus-shoelace incident. Because that absorbed so much of our transition time, we didn’t even have time to set up the ivy for the garden scenes. We also had to rush out the prison door for Charles, which probably loosened the pieces (re: Dr. Bezio’s epic save).
Overall, I am extremely relieved that the performance went so well and that our students had a lot of fun! I already miss the group and we plan to send Timone an email to read aloud to all the students.
This project was really fun!