Let’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?
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.
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.
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!
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What advice do you have for the first rehearsal? What activities do you do or recommend?
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