Session Three: Week 25


As people arrived today, one of the women shared that she’s been saying her lines wherever she happens to be, as they occur to her, and that usually people know what she’s talking about. She’s been really excited and amused by that!

We spent most of our time working on Act III Scene V today, in which Romeo leaves Juliet, Lady Capulet tells her that she must marry Paris, Capulet loses it, and both Lady Capulet and the Nurse abandon her. We have already worked the first part of the scene with the young lovers, but we took the opportunity to clarify a couple of things in the lines (and to cut some of the lines!).

We talked a bit about Lady Capulet in this scene – when she reasons with Juliet about her crying, is she really talking about herself to a certain extent? There is also a fairly abrupt shift between talk of revenge against Romeo and the coming marriage. The woman playing Lady Capulet took a moment here to take a deep breath, and we all laughed. She thought maybe she had done something wrong – but the reason we laughed was that it was so real! It was a great moment for her.

We got into the brutality of the scene – Capulet must really be terrifying for these women to abandon Juliet so quickly. We worked on some staging that will allow the woman playing Capulet to intimidate and frighten the others without actually striking them, and we worked out where Lady Capulet and the Nurse first try to intervene and then back off.

We left with this group having the goal of memorizing this scene within one week so that we can cement staging that is difficult to pull off while holding scripts. It will also provide a nice challenge and a short term goal.


Today we got to work right away on the end of Act III Scene I, the “fight scene.” The woman playing Benvolio, who is rather new to the group, had questions about his motivations here: is he snitching? Setting the record straight? Something else?

We had a great opportunity to work on this, since our Prince was present as well. Her greatest challenge is nervousness which makes her smile at inappropriate moments on stage. With her working toward the Prince’s anger at what has happened and desire to be just, and Benvolio working toward telling a story that would be honest and still not get him in hot water, we made a lot of progress. Everyone needs to work on slowing down their deliveries, but the scene is more or less working.

We then spent some time learning basic fencing with our foam swords. This was a lot of fun, with some of the women being more natural at it than others. Still, the vibe was one of encouragement, and we’ll keep working at it.

Following this, we worked on the opening scene of the play. The women are having a difficult time accessing the “tough guy” attitudes of the characters, and we will have to keep building on what we did today, which merely began to crack it.

The women mentioned that, while they are working on memorizing their lines, they wish they had more time together to work. We are looking into the possibility of adding one meeting per week through the end of the session – this would also enable us to make up lost time from when the weather prevented us from getting to the facility this winter.

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