Notes from the Forest: "How thus we met and these things finish"

Every week, A.B.L.E. teaching artist Emma MacLean takes you behind the scenes for our teen ensembles’ spring production, As You Like It. Click here to catch up on our past installments, and read on to find out about our final week of regular rehearsals.

Just like that, 10 weeks have passed! It has been 10 wonderful, magical, forest-full weeks. Our ensembles have taken ownership over this story and are fully bringing these characters to life.


Week 10 of rehearsals shifted into full performance mode. Our check in question was, “who are you inviting to see As You Like It?” Our cast is excited to share our hard with with aunts and cousins, friends and teachers, parents and siblings and more. Then we played a quick game of Circle Switch to get our brains focused. In Circle Switch, everyone stands in a circle. Then one person walks across the circle, high fives a person and then takes their spot. Then that person has to go do the same thing to someone else. It’s an ensemble game about following your impulse and staying focused on what is happening in the middle of the circle.

Then we got down to business with a run through. There are lots of scenes and puppet interludes in this show, with many costumes and props to manage.  Each character in the show has a designated costume piece. This way, even though we have many different actors playing Rosalind or Orlando or others, it will be clear to audience which character they are. But it means a lot of quiet shuffling and sharing backstage as we hand off hats, skirts, capes, and vests. This pre-dress rehearsal was a great chance to test how long it takes to get into costume and track where each piece ends up during the run. We also got a clearer sense of our total show runtime.

We end each class with a check out, sharing our “roses and thorns” about how the rehearsal. Roses are things that we liked, and thorns are things that we didn’t like or that we thought we could do better. I love hearing what others take away from rehearsal, maybe they loved dance party or seeing their friend in a scene. This week, many people commented on how amazing it was to see everything come together. The scene work, monologues, puppetry and dancing. Each ensemble member is a crucial part of this play. My rose was seeing all this hard work come together, and my thorn is that it’s almost over.


This Friday will be our dress rehearsal and Monday is the show! (Have you gotten your tickets yet? You should get your tickets.) There will be one last blog after this one to wrap up the whole series. Thank you for coming along on this forest journey. I truly can’t wait for you to see the finished product. You won’t want to miss it.

Tickets available at  chicagoshakes.com/able

Tickets available at chicagoshakes.com/able