How to Have a Productive Classroom Rehearsal: First Company Meeting

helpful_tipsLet’s pretend you just received a performance assignment in your theatre class. If Rillingale’s your teacher, you know you need to be accountable for your work. You know you need to get things done so you can get a good grade on your assignment. You know you need to use your time wisely. But what does that mean? What does a productive classroom rehearsal look like?

Make contact

As soon as your cast meets, get everyone’s phone numbers. If you don’t have a cell phone, use your home number. Send a friend request on Facebook. Get connected. Have your stage manager [cast leader] create an email list. That way when someone is absent during class, you can be more flexible in your rehearsal schedule.

Hopefully your instructor has had you get comfortable working with all the people in your class so you aren’t nervous about handing out your cell number.  Be respectful of the number and keep it private. Don’t call or text after 9 pm. Only text/call for rehearsal purposes unless you have found a new BFF.

Do your homework

Contrary to popular opinion, a rehearsal is NOT the place to learn your lines. Learn your lines outside of rehearsal so you can be productive during your short time together. Run your lines in the shower, with a kid brother, your best friend, but a classroom rehearsal spent running lines is an utter waste of time.

First Rehearsal

While your first rehearsal may not allow you interact much with your text/dance/content, there is a ton of tasks to complete to enable you to be productive.

First of all, introduce yourself, especially if you haven’t worked together. Make sure you know the name of everyone in your cast. Theatre work is all about collaboration, and you can’t collaborate if you are calling someone, “Hey you.”

Figure out who is the most organized person in your group and ask them to be the cast leader. In our class, that person is the stage manager, who keeps all the paperwork together and sends out reminders. I will be posting more detailed information about our classroom stage manager soon. 

Make sure you know what is expected of you in preforming this assignment. Review any handouts or rubrics. What exactly are you being asked to do? Ask each other before asking your teacher. 

Pull out your calendar in case you want to rehearse outside of class. Write it down. Use your phone to send you reminders. That iPhone should more than a pretty accessory, indeed, harness the many productivity apps available. BTW, lunch is a great time to rehearse.

You might be tempted to start talking tech, like costume and prop ideas. If you can at all help it, restrain yourself, and wait for a later rehearsal as costumes and props involve research. You will most likely be pressed for time so hold off for a while. 

Got text?

If you have been given a text, read through it. No need to be all ‘acty’ or try on any accents, just read through your material naturally. If you don’t know how to pronounce a word, ask someone. If you are confused about what a word means, look it up. [There you go, using that cell phone in class again!] Remember, you can’t act/sing/dance a word you can’t understand. Trust me, we’ll know if you’re bluffing.

YOU as playwright

If you are creating your scene, how cool! This initial meeting will be a brainstorm-fest. Remember, when brainstorming, accept all the ideas, even the silly ones that you think will never work in a million years. Why?Because, you just never know…

Saved by the bell

If you have gotten through all the above before the bell has rung, pat yourself on the back. Before you meet up again, be sure to make a list of items you need to bring to your next rehearsal.

Things on this list include but are not limited to

  • Script [take a picture of it with your phone, in case, goodness no, you forget it]
  • Hand prop
  • Costume idea
  • Pencil [never write in your script with pen!!]
  • Cell phone
  • Portable mini-speakers if applicable
  • Task for tonight: start memorizing those lines!

Leave a Comment or Advice Below

What advice do you have for the first rehearsal? What activities do you do or recommend?

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Categories: How To, Rehearse

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11 replies

  1. I will definitely get my team together and keep everything organized. Make sure to have a way to contact your team. Let them know what you are doing to those who arent in class that are home

  2. I agree with Keith that it gets hard to get to rehearsing after the group is formed, this information really helps give the group some ideas on how to get a perfect performance.

  3. I think this is really helpful, the one that rally caught my attention was the homework one, I tend to try to memorized my lines in class but not the lip sync and it was better not wasting memorizing in class.

    • Thanks, Diana. I have a ton of students who are able to memorize their lines in class, leaving them plenty of time to actually rehearse once they get to theatre class with their acting partners.

  4. This information is really helpful because it always seems like it’s hard to get rehearsals going after a group is initially formed.

  5. I agree with Kate! It gives the readers useful information and really good tips! Wish I would have read it before :p

  6. Like Kate mentioned this is very informative. I wish I would have seen this before our lip synch performance; however, everyone’s performance was very successful anyways

  7. This blog is very helpful for theater students, because it tells how to have a successful finish project which is similar to the lip sync project.

    • I agree with Kate , if I read this before I did the lip sync project I probably would have done a lot better. Well I hope future theater students read these instructions! It’s a good source to keep in mind, and feel good about how you performed

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