July 6, 2012

Today we began with a favorite improv game, since we haven’t done improv in awhile, and they all really enjoy it. That was a lot of fun. We then spent some time reading through the script and discussing the logistics of our performance, since some of the participants present were not there for the previous discussions. Everyone seems to understand what the performance will entail and how it will all work. They are also enthusiastic about having a talkback with the audience afterward.

We worked our scene from Othello since all three of those women were present. The other participants gave really great feedback, which now appears to be the norm – they talk more, I talk less. We talked about at what points Desdemona should be sobbing and when she should be a little more quiet. We also went back to talking about physicality and what body language looks like from the audience. We encouraged Emilia to continue trying to build her anger throughout the scene rather than exploding out of nowhere. The actress playing Iago is gaining a better understanding of her character each time we run the scene, and it really shows.

Then we worked Othello’s monologue. Again, the first go was not as good as we all know she can do. She clearly needs a warm up before she performs, and we’ll have to take that into account when it comes time for the showcase. Her second performance, though, was her best yet – again, she topped even what she accomplished in the last class. She is breaking up the beats of the piece increasingly well, shifting from aggression, to grief, to rage, etc.

Then we worked the scene from As You Like It with a participant standing in for Rosalind, who was not there. The language continues to come more easily for Celia, and the group gave some great feedback to Duke Frederick on how to give her entrance and exit more power. This scene is coming along very nicely.

We then worked with one of our Antonys. Taking the note she was given the last time we worked, she is using much more of the stage and keeping herself open to the entire audience. Her vocal work is outstanding – one of the participants went out to the hall to get some water and said she could hear her clearly out there. Everyone loves what she is doing with the piece.

Our biggest issue now is memorization. A few of the women have memorized their monologues or are close to it, but some have not, and almost no one has for the scenes. We went over some techniques to help with that and also decided that it would be okay to have one participant onstage with a script in hand in case anyone falters. I hope that that will not be necessary, but I want them to do whatever it takes to make them comfortable and confident.