Well, you got the part- right? Then how did you get into this secret gathering of talent?? Huh? How? Only kidding, I just like asking questions that are so blatantly obvious. You are at the rehearsals because you earned it. So what now?
Expect to be nervous and don’t worry if you’re not ‘off the page’ (means you have learnt all your lines showoff!) I have to tell you I never learn my lines completely at the start of the first rehearsal. The reason for this is the director who is now King or Queen from now on may have made some changes. And even if it’s an established play they have the right to make some cuts. Ok, now we know this we can move on.
Day 1, rehearsal may start with the group introducing themselves to each other- because you are never usually told who else got a part in the show, so this will be the first time for everyone unless of course you knew some of the actors before from other shows or privately etc. So everyone will be smiley and relaxed/nervous/full of egos and vanity from being the chosen one. But on the whole everyone will be ready to dig in and work hard. As a director myself I like to start with each person getting up and telling the group a bit about themselves and this usually starts the rehearsals off well. Then we play some theatre games to loosen everyone up and finally you will sit down and read from the script aka the first read through.
The first read through can be nerve racking because you are now getting to hear how people have interpreted the character, which will definitely sound different from how it sounded in your head when you were reading the script alone. So now this makes your response with your line sound unusual and not how you planned, and you are thinking “Why is she sounding so angry saying this line” “Now I have to be angry and this is not an angry scene??” “What kind of actress is she, and how the hell did she get the part?” The director at this point is saying nothing because they just want to hear all the voices and they have a different thought process.
Ok so the read through is finished and everyone makes a deep sigh (kinda, glad that’s over sigh) look around at each other with slightly reddish watery eyes and smile. The director says great!!
Fast forward (because I am not going to give you an account of every single day).
By the time you are at the stage of ‘blocking’ (blocking is like a set direction you will always do e.g. you will always come in from the left door and always sit on the second seat nearest the piano when you say the line “ he didn’t believe me”)
You should now have your actual lines minus all the script changes that would have been made in previous rehearsals. And you should now be feeling very confident and maybe have a gooey feeling in your tummy that’s saying “this is so cool and I’m gonna be brilliant”
The relationships with your fellow actors should be great by now. And there should be strong bonds developed.
Sometimes when it’s a very large group say 20-30 for maybe a musical the relationships may not be as close, and you may find that you are drawn to some and not others, it maybe down to a few may have grown bigger egos or your personalities just don’t mix. Don’t worry it’s just how it goes, because your job is to make believe so as long as you’re professional and you give 100% on stage that’s all that matters. I am not applauding this ego/vanity/diva behavior by the way because I tend to encourage everyone to treat each other with respect- but you will always get a few, so I’m just warning you…ok?
Rehearsals is the place to make all the mistakes and learn how to get around complicated words and sentences that don’t quite resonate. Rehearsal are where you could form long lasting friendships, even love- but don’t go looking for it in a rehearsal but if it happens it happens. One thing with true talent it can make the most unattractive seem so attractive and you only get to see that in the rehearsal. You get to see a person’s craft and technique mature and it will inspire you to also do your best- remember you’ve earned it.
Final rehearsal before the show aka the Dress Rehearsal, its here -this is it!! “Why did I want to be an actor again, I forget??” Sometimes the final rehearsal can make you feel like you are back at the first rehearsal. “Oh man I’ve forgotten my lines” “Where’s my script?” Your palms will be sweaty and the gooey feeling in the tummy feels strangely like another type of gooey feeling L “Excuse me, I just need to go to the toilet”
The self doubt will creep in and you will worry over the minutest things like “what if the second chair next to the piano isn’t there, where will I sit?” “What if the left door doesn’t open, it’s been stuck a few times during rehearsals?!” Calm down please, because this is the rehearsals of all rehearsals – oh except for opening night/rehearsal, which is like a performance in front of an actual audience rehearsals or a press night/rehearsals, which is a highly pressured performance where everything should be on point because you are being judged by a bunch of people who write reviews. Then there’s the, my family and agent are coming to see me tonight show/rehearsal. The truth is every night can feel like a rehearsal but sometimes you will feel like you have nailed it and tonight felt like an actual performance and sometimes it feels like you are back at square one and you need to rehearse a few lines so it feels right again. Never mind because they say life is one big rehearsal. And it’s your chance to get better and better.
See you at rehearsals J