One of our ensemble members recently wrote a play, which she subsequently was given permission to produce at the prison. Although we facilitators are not able to attend the performance, we were ecstatic to hear that it was very well received last week by its first audience. We were also told that the playwright calmly went on in place of a cast member who couldn’t at the last minute, and that she was wonderful in the role. She was beaming from all of the positive feedback, and so proud. We’re proud of her, too!
We worked on the final two scenes of the play tonight, and we discovered some very fun ways of staging them. Unfortunately we had to stop our work on Act V Scene I before we really wanted to, as a few members of the group had to leave, and, though it wasn’t their fault, it was quite frustrating to the ensemble. We rallied, though, and did some solid work on Act V Scene II.
We still have questions about the best way to stage the scene, but we were able to do some pretty deep character work on Petruchio and Katharina. “My heart feels what my character feels,” said the woman playing Petruchio. It’s a new feeling for some of them to be as vulnerable as they need to make themselves while playing these characters. “We put up walls to protect ourselves,” said one woman, “But we’re really hurting ourselves.” We just keep working to support one another as we take on our individual challenges.
As usual, there was light attendance today. We took some time as a smaller group to discuss some ways in which we want to change the group in the fall. Some great ideas were brought up that, pending approval by the facility, should help to strengthen us next year, making for more cohesion of the group early on and helping us to do better, deeper work. That’s what we all want.
We also worked on Petruchio’s post-wedding monologue, in which he asserts his ownership of Katharina. This piece can be interpreted many ways, and our Petruchio is weighing all of her options. She is an actress who approaches everything from the heart, so that’s how her Petruchio is working so far. How much is a game, we wondered together? How much is sincere? How much is a response to her, and how much is a response to the other men? We worked to clarify the meaning of every word and phrase, and now our Petruchio will work to find what rings most true to her.