Today I brought scenes for us to work on, and we started with those right off the bat. I apologized again in advance for the somewhat tedious nature of breaking down the scenes so that we all understand them, but everyone again assured me that they actually enjoy it. Our scenes are from Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth and As You Like It. I tried to choose scenes that have some “meat” to them, so that the women won’t get bored with them.
As we went through the scenes, I summarized for them what the context was for each. They would then volunteer to give the scenes a read. I was really pleased to see how far they’ve come in this – the first few weeks, I had to do a lot of the reading myself because they were so reticent to do it. But now they have much more confidence, and I didn’t do any of the reading. I just helped here and there with the more foreign words. Even the participant who has had a hard time with the language because of her learning disability read a few of the scenes and did remarkably well. A few of them shared that the reason they think they have a relatively easy time with some of the language is because of their bible reading.
When we reached the mid-point of the scenes, everyone agreed that it was really cold in the auditorium and that we should play a couple of games to physically warm up. We did that, and it really helped and refreshed us.
The prisoners are all going to look over the scenes before our next session, and then we will start casting them (the prisoners will cast themselves) and working them on their feet. We will revisit monologues when the scenes are somewhat solid. Then the participants will decide which scenes and monologues they want to include in their August performance.