We got off to a slow start today due to needing to resolve the logistical issues that were brought up at the last session, and due to a scheduling mix up that we realized happened when only one of our new participants arrived. That will be remedied for the next session. We did a nice, long warm up and played a couple of circle games and an improv game that the group has really taken to in the past. During the course of these games, the one new participant who was present loosened up quite a bit and became obviously more comfortable with the rest of the women present, who are already very comfortable with one another.
When we decided to move on to Shakespeare with the time remaining, the new participant volunteered that she had spent a lot of time analyzing the piece between sessions. She said that, though she’s not familiar with the play, she could identify with the despair, depression and frustration Hamlet expresses. She thought about how she would express those feelings if these were her words. We were all delighted by everything she said, and the group told her how wonderful it is that she’s already taking initiative like that and doing such great groundwork. I asked her if she’d like to read the piece, and she seemed hesitant, so I assured her that she could just sit in her chair and do it if getting up was too intimidating (we were sitting in a circle). She did that, and she gave a great reading. She took her time, gave weight to certain words that clearly resonated most with her, and was very truthful, albeit a little hesitant. The group applauded her and expressed how impressed they were by how her instincts guided her to such a great first “performance.” They also reassured her that her shyness and the bit of stumbling over the language she did would go away in time. It’s great, now that they are veterans and can speak from experience. We then talked about what Hamlet wants in the scene, as opposed to just what he’s feeling. She decided that he wants to get this person to help him. I encouraged her to “reach out” with her energy, to get that help. Her next reading was deeper, and she was clearly going after that objective for most of the piece. She said it felt more truthful to her that time, but it’s something she’ll need to work on.
We all were very happy with how this new participant did, and I was especially pleased with how supportive the core group was of her. It seems like they really like being in the role of mentor, and it will benefit the new participants greatly to be able to trust to their experience, even while these original members continue to learn and grow.