Sunday, July 30, 2006

Act Five

On Friday, S pretty much led the students working with Act 5, and did a great job. First she ran through the scene bit by bit, asking the actors to think about what the characters would be thinking and feeling, and how they could show those thoughts or feelings.

Then she chose a completely different casting (not the ones cast in those parts for the play they're preparing) and had them run through the scene, taking on different thoughts and emotions.

The new choices were very interesting, and I really got a sense of which students were focused and intent on learning. I got that sense even more so when we talked to the original cast folks about the different choices and what they'd learned. A couple clearly stood out for understanding how the other person had taken on and thought about the role, and their reactions were really interesting.

Mostly, though, they don't pay close attention. Boy, sometimes it really stands out how young they are. It's not that college students are that much older, but after a year or two of college, they have a good read on what professors are going to ask, maybe? So they pay better selective attention, perhaps?

It was a fascinating exercise, and I learned from it, anyways!

We also gave the students a questionaire. We'd given them one on Monday, mostly asking about their experience with Shakespeare and acting, about their goals for our workshop, and about their concerns acting Shakespeare. The Friday questionaire asked followup questions about their goals and concerns, and also what they liked and what suggestions they'd make for next time. S is looking at the responses this weekend, and will bring them to me next week.


The plays I saw this weekend were enjoyable and made me think lots, so a success from my point of view. It's really interesting when you talk to someone who doesn't think about theatrical stuff about theatrical choices: how to play the final scene in The Taming of the Shrew, for example.

One of the things we spent a lot of time on in the past week was trying to get our students to think about different staging possibilities for scenes and characters. I think that's valuable, especially for people acting and interpreting plays. There's so much space in plays for actors and directors to think and rethink representation.

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