Before we began today, the participant playing Prospero brought up that she is beginning to try to memorize her lines, but she is hesitant because we haven’t made all of our cuts yet. She is worried about the time left to do this, and, as it turns out, so is the rest of the group. I really wanted to make cuts all together, but I also am very committed to facilitating this experience in the way that they want, and not necessarily according to what is ideal for me, so I offered to streamline things by making cuts myself in pencil and then giving them the opportunity to reject any cuts they don’t want to keep. They seemed relieved by this solution, so that’s what we’ll do. This way, we’ll move more quickly, they’ll feel better about the situation, but the process also will not be entirely taken away from them. The participant playing Caliban has joined another drama group in addition to this one, and she brought up that when she was discussing Caliban with a woman in that group, that woman asked if Caliban actually did try to rape Miranda, or if Prospero just thinks he did. That brought up a really interesting dilemma for her as an actress. The participant playing Prospero brought up that Caliban admits to it – but does he? The lines are:
Thou most lying slave,
Whom stripes may move, not kindness! I have used thee
(Filth as thou art) with human care, and lodged thee
In mine own cell till thou didst seek to violate
The honor of my child.
Oh ho, O ho! Would’t had been done!
Thou didst prevent me; I had peopled else
This isle with Calibans.
So, maybe he actually did try to rape Miranda, or maybe Prospero misinterpreted something he saw, and then treated Caliban so terribly that he figured, “Well, I may as well have,” and this led to some of his “bad behavior,” as we discussed during the last session. What we arrived at was that for the woman playing Prospero, it really makes no difference – for Prospero, it’s cut and dry: this is what happened. But the participant playing Caliban will have to make a choice at some point about what really happened, and this will influence the way she plays her character. She is delighted with how complex he is turning out to be.
This same participant learned a game in her other group that we haven’t played in ours in such a long time that most of the current participants have never played it, and that is Party Quirks. I described it to them, and they wanted to try it, so we did. It went extremely well. This is an improv game that relies on the actors playing various characters to give solid clues as to who they are so that the “host” is able to guess. The first group to play were all celebrities, and they gave excellent clues through the things that they said. We discussed it and decided that in the second round, we would try for more physical characteristics. This proved to work very well, too. I’ve actually never seen a group of beginning actors do so well with this game. It was a really great experience for everyone.
We then worked on Act I Scene II, mainly on the interaction between Prospero and Caliban. These two actresses are finding it challenging to be as “nasty” to one another as they need to be, but they are getting there. We discussed their physicality quite a bit – both of them have a way of backing up after a line that makes them appear weak. We had a very good time working on this scene, and it will only get stronger as we work more.