March 26, 2013

We had a few additions to the group today, so we began with a welcome. We followed that up, after warm ups, with a game to “audition” them. This is a new idea from the group – to throw new participants right into an activity to make sure that they are willing to go out on a limb and take risks on stage. It seems to be working well so far. Continuing with scenes we haven’t worked, we launched into Act V, which is one long scene that ends the play. The participant playing Prospero is beginning to really fall in to her monologues, but she is still hesitant to go all the way with the emotion. She began to express doubts that she will go as far as she should or wants to, when our veteran interrupted, but not rudely, saying, “Stop. Don’t speak things into existence.” She encouraged the other woman to resist being negative or doubtful about her eventual performance, to focus on the process, and that she will do a great job if she does that. Everyone else seconded that feeling.

We discussed some specifics as we worked the scene. The participant playing Ariel is showing an ever-deepening understanding of her character, and got nearly everything she needed to know about her objectives in the scene from the text. We talked at length about why Prospero says so little to Alonso, as opposed to Antonio and Sebastian. The group talked about Prospero relating to Alonso as a father who may have lost a child, as someone whose daughter has just married his son, and then we got to what is likely the crux of it: that Alonso repents his actions, and that’s really what Prospero wanted in the first place.

One of the new participants gave some really excellent constructive criticism to the woman playing Prospero. She said that she couldn’t tell, just from the way the woman was standing and speaking, whether the character was strong or not. This is a great note because we know that not everyone in the audience will understand all of the language, so physicality is very important. The woman playing Prospero was very glad to get the feedback, and will keep it in mind as she continues to work.