Knowing that this week it was time to put the beginning of the Senior group’s show together, I went to the clearing that we’ve chosen in the woods to check all was well before the session. We’ve not been there for a few weeks, and in the meantime the most enormous, beautifully built den had been constructed across the clearing. It felt a bit rude to pull it down, but the plan was to run scenes 1, 2 and 3 back to back, and so we needed the space for our performers.
After 40 minutes of hard labour clearing away the branches, I headed back to the Woodland Discovery Centre to start the session. First there were some costume and prop details to sort, and then we all walked up to start our rehearsal in the clearing.
Each week when the young people have performed their devised scene, I’ve recorded it on my phone and then gone home and typed it up into a script. I’ve left 90% of it as they performed it… sometimes I’ve divided the lines slightly more evenly between the actors and I’ve also added in a little Shakespearean text – trying to insert relevant lines from each of the characters’ original plays into our text.
Thursday was the first time that the young people had seen the final script, and so the run through was a little clunky – working out entrances and exits, remembering who they were speaking to, getting their tongues around the Shakespearean language. We managed to run scenes 1, 2 and 3 twice, and make sense of them too – they did well!
Pied Piper being lifted by bad spirits… (this took a few goes)
Sadly, we also had a lot of particularly irritating visitors in the clearing with us… midges! They were really awful – the young people all had to act with their hoods up, swatting them away continuously. In fact, the midges were so awful that we are now thinking that we need to change the location of the play otherwise the actors will be upstaged by midges on the performance evening! So after all of my hard work with the branches, perhaps I didn’t need to clear that amazing den away… Next week we’re focusing on running the last 3 scenes and will try them out in a new, hopefully midge-free, location.
Growtheatre Youth Theatre leader, Senior group