Generally, our semesters are only 10 weeks, plus dress rehearsal, and the final performance. We are so honored to be a part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago, and thrilled at the opportunity to perform at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, that we added an extra week of rehearsal for Twelfth Night. Working on a thrust stage will be a new experience for our ensemble, so we have been working a lot on blocking and the idea of the 4th wall in addition to adding fun physicality and moments to all of our scenes. Read on to learn more about the penultimate week of rehearsals....
Monday Recap (by Katie Yohe)
Tonight’s class was a ton of fun (as always). We’re so close to the show, and you can feel the excitement from all of our actors as they keep asking questions like “What time do I need to be at the theater?” “Where do I get my costume?” and “Who is going to be there?”! Kaylie kicked things off tonight harnessing that energy into a great dance party (“Uptown Funk” always gets everyone pumped!) and a lovely, stretchy, centering warm up.
After running through the schedule, we went around the circle with the evening’s check in question: “What’s the best party you’ve every been to?” Lots of weddings, surprise parties, and homecoming dances made the list (personally, our actor Samuel F.’s sweet 16 party was one of my all-time favorites!) Rachel volunteered for marker duty and kept us on schedule for the rest of our busy night!
For our ensemble game, we played an old favorite called “Spaceship” which works on our imagination, improvisation, and movement skills. In this game, everyone suits up and takes off to explore different planets. We landed on a super-hot desert planet, a planet made of water, and a planet made of ice cream! We got such terrible stomachaches from eating too much ice cream that we had to make a quick stop at The Hospital planet before flying back to Menomonee Club to get on with rehearsal!
We have some photos of the set and the backstage area at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, so after passing these around and talking about blocking and what to expect at the theater, we were ready to work on the show.
First up, Sweet Viola! This will be the first thing the audience hears from us, and this song will help them get to know all of the characters in the play, so we worked extra hard to make sure our character poses are crisp and clear and help us to tell the story through the song.
From there, we ran through our first several scenes. Fletcher applied all the work we’ve done with levels and had his lovelorn Orsino sit on the floor while talking to Cesario (Lucy). Hannah and Ben got to practice entering through the house as Sebastian and Antonio. Rachel and Emily had fun as Olivia and Malvolio chasing each other around the stage to argue about the ring. And Sir Toby (Claire), Sir Andrew (Andrew), Feste (Sam R) and Maria (Colleen), did an amazing job singing and dancing and waking up the house! Sam R is even going to play his ukulele! (we don’t want to spoil the surprise and tell you what song they’re singing…but it’s a love song that will make you feel BEAUTIFUL!)
We had just enough time to sing through Hey Ho The Wind and the Rain (accompanied by some real torrential rain from outside!) before circling up to check out. Rachel led us all in “I Take from the Heavens” and we were off for the night!
Friday Recap (by Lawrence Kern)
Tonight in class Susan got things jumping with our traditional dance party followed by a warm up. She led a great physical warm up, and to get our voices going, we went around the circle and every actor came up with a sound and movement for a body part till we were warmed up from head to toe.
Peter ran through the schedule for the night and then we each took turns answering our check in question: “What’s the craziest costume you’ve ever worn?”
Next we practiced blocking for the shipwreck at the beginning of the play. First, we sat in the circle and worked on our rainstorm sound effects with Peter “conducting” the storm. Lucas and Marissa also each got a turn leading the group in making different sounds by clapping, tapping, and brushing our hands together. From there, we got on our feet and practiced the full shipwreck that separates Sebastian (Quicny) and Viola (Mila). Jack and Lucas had a great time controlling the waves while Sam and Natalia really enjoyed making the thunder sound effects. Mila surprised everyone with her terrific stunt tumble when the ship goes down!
After that Katie and Peter walked everyone through Sweet Viola and all the new choreography we rehearsed last week. The entire class learned the moves in no time and we were able to work the song twice from start to finish.
Then we busted through a few scenes that the Friday class will be performing for the show. Samuel F. had a great time as Mavolio, and Emily K and Alena shined in the wedding ceremony as Olivia and Sebastian.
To finish class we ran through Hey-Ho a few times, which will end our show and then we closed class with a group “I Take From the Heavens”. Friday’s class is rip-roaring to go and they can’t wait to put this whole show together!