Written by Dominique
We had a pretty good turnout this evening - only a couple people missing. Yet somehow it was still difficult to find a scene to work on that involved only characters of available actors. We carried on, with people volunteering to fill needed spaces.
After initial frustration at not being able to just "go in order" as originally planned due to absence we forged onward - begin with Act IV Scene iii. A first run/read-thru on its feet was made. We stopped to sort out exactly what was going on in the scene - not an easy thing to do! We laughed at how complicated the comedies can be with mistaken identities and characters running on and offstage. Who exactly was being who at this point and who believed them?? We looked to the text for clues and backed it up with Spark Notes (no shame in that at all!!). Once we figured out where the deception was, the lines in the scene began to bloom, particularly for Tranio, being read by the woman who is cast as the Widow but frequently fills in for others. Once again she gave a good solid reading and really dug to figure out where the character she was reading was coming from. And once again she, with good humor, insisted that she was the Widow and the Widow only. It's becoming a kind of running gag. Other cast members remarked on the strength of her reading, but we pointed out that the whole play was leading to the entrance of the Widow at this point, so she was wise to stick with that.
The other aspect of the scene to be broached was the "love making" of Bianca and Lucentio. We talked about how to approach it, what would be appropriate for play and audience, what kinds of things could be broad enough to read for audience. We talked about while in this play many of the jokes are accessible it is the physical comedy that really brings the humor to light for a modern audience so we continue looking for those moments wherever possible. Even to the point of suggesting that although Gremio doesn't join the scene's dialogue until much much later her presence on stage could leave open some opportunities for fun…
Kate and Petruchio also gave us a taste of work they had done on Act II sc 1. They are both such good actors it was fun to see them dig in to the verbal jousting. We talked about ways to break up the "jests", different approaches Petruchio might take, who really has the power in the scene and when. They were also encouraged to use the entire stage, to really physicalize the language to help bring the jokes to life for the audience. There should be no problem in that! The show is already off to a rollicking start.
Written by Lauren
Today was pretty low-key. We started with the ring and some stretches and vocal warm-ups. One woman taught us a warm up (more of a game). We used it instead of tongue twisters and everyone seemed to like it! You start with the letter A and tell everyone your name, your husband's name, where you live and where you work and all starting with that letter (ex: my name is Alice, my husband's name is Albert, we live in Alberta and we sell artichokes). You go around the circle with a different letter each time.
After that we worked Act 4 Scene 1, which has already been blocked, but given the women we had available, that seemed like the best scene to do. It ended up being fine since they said needed a refresher of the scene. Our Grumio was feeling pretty down today but didn't really get into it. She still worked through the scene twice, but was definitely done after that. The ladies wanted to play some improv games after that. One woman was pretty outspoken about how she didn't understand the point of the games. I explained how they could be helpful, and then she got really into it. We played a couple rounds of Party Quirks, which they were all really into. I had a hard time getting the ladies to be physical when we ran the scene, so I thought that game would help them act silly and over the top, and it worked.
The same woman who was initially against playing games also mentioned that she would like to challenge herself and take on the role of Biondello since it's available. I took both of these things as good signs and was glad that she's willing to challenge herself and try new things.