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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

[ ACTOR P.O.V VIII ] My Rehearsal Rules

The rehearsal process can become frustrating and Over the course of rehearsals for stage, I have found the following set of rules to be extra helpful. I make sure I remind myself of these each time I step into a rehearsal.

Respect people's time

Show up on time, that doesn't mean 30 mins after or 5 mins after, that means whatever time it takes you to get to the rehearsals and warm up and be ready to work at the time stated. I hate it when people stroll in while mouthing their excuses and waste more time justifying what happened.

Also, leave on time. Some people take advantage of people's time thinking "Oh I would go on all night with the rehearsal" too bad, you hopefully have a life. And when you succomb to such demands.. you are not following the schedule and you are giving out the message that it is ok to be unprepared till the last minute and by then we can just make up for everything we should have done by ridiculous rehearsal times. If you were suppose to leave by 10pm, you leave by 10pm. If things are really heating up, stuff's getting done, tell the stage manager or director at 9:30 or 9:45 that you are scheduled to leave at 10pm that way they will know how to coordinate. Bottom line, if you show up on time and leave on time you declare by that simple action that you mean business in terms of committment.

We've been given 2 ears and 1 mouth, use them in that ratio.

Listen more than talk. With a large ensemble it is important to follow this constantly. There is no way to emphasize this enough. Just do it.

Keep your suggestions and ideas to yourself during rehearsal.

Sometimes a director may have a lot on their plate, if they are performing as well, they might feel stalled in making observations quickly and providing sound creative input right at the moment. That doesn't mean actors and others start telling them what should be done and how something can be made better. Shut up people.. just let the person think for a second. If you feel something else should be considered try reaching them during a break or email them or call them.. but for God sakes don't interrupt them during rehearsal. Especially in dance, don't ever tell the choreographer how it is suppose to look.. trust me it's only gonna end up making you look like a jerk and not help the rehearsal at all. If you have to get the baby out then the least you can do is ask for permission to suggest or express your beliefs.

Do not tell another artist how to perform or initiate a conversation about what YOU think of their performance

When we rehearse, we are experimenting, we are artists are making ourselves vulnerable and trying out things that may make us look good or bad.. the last thing we want is another artist telling us why it didn't work or why it did. . unless you ask them.. their is no reason they should be vocalizing their opinions.. again, director is there for a reason.

Overall, rehearsal is suppose to be about more than just blocking and learning lines.. infact if you are gonna learn your lines during rehearsals might as well not bother... rehearsal is about discovery, about materializing your vision with bodies and actions. When I say vision, it is not the actor's vision.. no sorry... it is the director's vision.. I know that sounds kinda weird but seriously.. that's what the director is for.. if you as an actor have a vision discuss it with the director, ask for permission to show what you have in mind, if it involves changing other actors' blocking ask them for permission too. Now, in some skills rehearsal is just practice for example, stage combat if you don't know much about it, then you rehearse to perfect a routine. Sometimes in dance you rehearse to get something right together as a group. So rehearsals in different areas can mean different things. It's a good idea to discuss with the director what they want their rehearsals to be about. Do they want collaboration if yes, how? All this work prior to rehearsal will make it beneficial for all.