Ink Diaries: First Run Pain and Gain

Last night we had the first run-thru of the show. As is typical there was some good and some not so good. Typically on a first run you loose about 30% of what you’ve been doing well. Our score? We fell back about 45%. 

Not to worry. We’ll get that back and more as we prepare to head to the stage for spacing rehearsals this Sunday. 

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It’s an all too familar part of the process and the ritual of rehearsals. Each cast member is moving at their own pace, not necessarily yet at the show’s pace, or not necessarily with each other. Quite a few dropped the script for the first time last night. And that always features pain and gain before the text actually takes root in their brains and bodies.

From a director’s point of view it’s both enlightening and a bit infuriating. The story starts talking but only in fits and starts. But it starts talking. You watch some of your actors struggle without the crutch of the script (look Ma, I’ve got hands!) It’s also assessment time about what works, what’s going to work, and what might not work and need to be changed. We’re repeating, refining as we continue to explore. 

The words aren’t really their’s yet. The words are still things they see on that page in their mind that they’re no longer holding onto for dear life. The ritual always reveals just how much of a crutch the script pages becomes. An actor will struggle with a sequence of lines and then choose to pick up the script again. The minute they pick it up the text comes back to life within them. And in most instances without them actually looking at those pages in their hands.  

You have to take that neceessary step before you can really get your feet under you and we took some of those necessary steps last night even with the stumbles and bumbles. 

The biggest takeaway? Today’s another day. Take some things apart and put them back together again for the next run on Saturday, our last day in the rehearsal space. 

Author: Warner Crocker

I stumble through life as a theatre director and playwright as well as a gadget geek...commenting along the way. Every day I learn something new is a good day, so I share what I find exciting, new, stupid and often worthwhile.

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