Written by Kyle
This is was the first day that I had facilitated the program as the solo facilitator; I had to lean heavily on the senior members of the company for some of the procedural elements of the rehearsal. I think it was a nice way to let them shine a bit, and to flex their leadership muscles. We started the session by finishing the film version of the show; we made a special effort to note what the actors who were not speaking were doing while onstage - how did they engage in the scene without having lines? At the end of the film, one of the company noted how few actors the film version actually employed. She said that she was a little worried about the scene when Petruchio and Kate reach his home because we didn’t have enough actors to play the servants; when she saw it in the movie version, however, she noticed they only had two actors - they were just highly energized and could make it work. She said it was inspiring, and that she was excited to try it like they had done in the movie.
After the movie and a small discussion we moved on the warm-up. It was nice to be there on my own because I could start to introduce some warm-up activities they hadn’t tried before. So we ended up working on our voices a little bit by ‘Tarzan-ing’ our voices along the apron of the stage. They seemed to like that exercise and like mixing up their routine. After a few tongue twisters I started to teach them the beginning of ‘Modern Major General’ from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance- a classic staple of so many people’s early theatre experiences. For me, those are the types of traditions are essential in the prison. They are the traditions that have transcended so many generations and cultures, and participation allows for a little nugget of that transcendence. It’s what my theatre teachers did with me, their teachers with them, and so on. The women get to become a part of a theatre tradition bigger than all of us, despite the necessary separateness of walls and fences that defines the prison life.
Once we started working on the show, we worked the famous scene when Kate and Petruchio first meet. The company was all engaged in the scene, and we collectively brainstormed how we could stage it in a way that made sense of the word play, was funny, and didn’t involve a ton of physical violence - easier said than done! One particularly nice learning moment came with the actor playing Kate: she asked me if she should ‘maybe be a little flirty’ with Petruchio. I said I didn’t know and that it was up to her. I pointed out that Kate does nothing but tell Petruchio how terrible he is, and even has several lines that say that she is leaving, and yet the scene is several pages long; so there is a pretty big contradiction with what the character says and does that she, as the actor, needs to reconcile. We chatted for another minute or so before she cut me off to give me the best answer she possibly could: “I think I just need to try it once or twice and see how it goes.” Spoken like a true actor!
Written by Lauren
We had a very small group today. We started out running a scene that one of the women suggested. It had been blocked before, but we hadn't touched on it in a while, so it was worth revisiting. We read through it a couple of times and cleared up some of the confusion in the language. When I asked if they wanted to put it on its feet, the women suggested we move on since we were missing so many people, including people for that scene. It was suggested that we run lines.
We started at the beginning, and I was so pleased to see that two of the women were already almost off book for the first few scenes! Not only that, but they both were putting so much characterization into their line readings. At one point we got into a discussion about who one woman should have been talking to. While this discussion started to become frustrating since everyone had a different opinion, it was great to see that everyone was so passionate about the script and had such educated things to say to back up their viewpoints. When we left the discussion, we decided that the choice is ultimately up to the woman playing the character, so she decided to think about it on her own and get back to us.
We read through about the first half of the script. Even though it was a small group and we didn't get very physical, we all left feeling accomplished and really good about how the play is shaping up!