Each ABLE class is staffed with 2 teaching artists (Kendra, Peter, Katie, and Lawrence), and at least 3 volunteer facilitators (enough to make a 2:1 actor:staff ratio). Facilitators rotate in and out of classes (generally attending 5 or 6 during the semester, though most of our team are so committed they come to more), and when they sign up for classes, they are assigned different in-class job to help ensure class runs smoothly. These jobs are GREETER, DANCE PARTY DJ & WARM UP LEADER, and TEAM CAPTAIN. This semester, we've added a new job: PAPARAZZI. At ABLE, the Paparazzi is a good thing! They help take pictures we can use on social media and write a report of the class for the blog. So, this semester you'll get to hear from all different members of our teaching team as they give their perspective on the activities and events of each rehearsal. Today, SEAN and KENDRA will tell you all about Week Two of our rehearsals for Twelfth Night!
Monday Recap (by Sean Okerberg)
Week Two was special because it took place on leap day! Our focus on this the “once every four year calendar correction day” was to review the characters we learned last week through tableau and to sing more of the song, "Sweet Sweet Viola".
We started off with Kaylie leading us in a freeze in place dance party and a very visceral warm up where we pretended we were wooden puppets who were slowly coming to life and finding we could move just one body part at a time.
Lawrence led our check-in with the question: "If you were stranded in Illyria, who would you want to be stranded with?" We moved on to an ensemble game mill and seethe about the room and Freezing at Lawrence’s command. We started with everyone freezing and unfreezing at once, but then worked on our ensemble skills of give and take, and had just one person unfreeze at a time. From there, we played zip zap zop (but Andrew really wanted to play “whoosh, woah” instead!)
With everyone warm and ensemble achieved it was time to form an audience and review our characters. Lucy and Rachel had obviously done their homework as we reviewed Olivia’s household. Andrew and Sam showed us what party animals Sir Toby and Sir Andrew where. Ben and Emily were fabulous twins as Sebastian and Cesario (the covert Viola). Claire’s stern Malvolio set the stage for Colleen’s coquettish Olivia. Everyone had a great time finding the single pose or tableau that captured the essence of each character.
Our tableau skills were put to music as each facilitator paired up with one or two actors and one line from the first verse of Sweet Sweet Viola. We worked with our partners to come up with our own choreography for our line and then pieced the first verse of the song together one line at a time. Sam made a majestic Orsino to Fletcher’s Viola as the song started to take shape. The night ended with a final check-out where everyone went around the circle sharing their favorite part of class, and we all did I take from the heavens in unison. A very full class and great start to the second week!
Friday Recap (by Kendra Van Kempen)
In Class 2, we continued to study the characters with the goal of embodying each character in as many ways as possible.
Sean made sure we were ready for rehearsal by helping us warm up our voices, bodies and imagination. We pretended that we all had little balls of energy right in the center of our chests. As it moved throughout our bodies and changed sizes, we had to use our faces, arms and legs to show where the energy was and how strong it was.
To get us thinking about how the characters might act in Act 2, our check-in question was, "What is something you do to show someone you love them?" Many responded that they would hug or kiss, give flowers, and Natalia said that she helps them, especially her family.
After Somer and Peter led us in some ensemble games, we got into costume and played "Shakespeare Says." It helped us review what happened to the characters in Act One - "Shakespeare says anyone who is in a shipwreck come up on stage!" - and got us thinking about what might happen in Act 2. Jack, playing Viola, and Quincy, playing Sebastian, were quick to come on stage to act out the shipwreck!
We reviewed the chorus of "Sweet, Sweet Viola." Because all of the characters are mentioned in the verses, we posed when Peter sang our character's name to help act out the song. Lucas showed us how clever and funny Feste the Jester can be by playing the bells on his hat to the beat of the song.
We swapped costumes for the Act 2 Play Plot to take turns playing all the characters. While listening to Kendra read the narration of Act 2, the actors jumped in and out of the circle acting out small vignettes. Sam P had a great Sir Toby laugh that he used when the characters were plotting against Malvolio.
We ended class still thinking about the characters as we journaled about what new thing we had learned about the roles that day. Next week someone is wearing is yellow tights...see you then.