First Day Of Rehearsal(s)

Last night, Flux had our first rehearsal for our upcoming production of Jacob’s House. First rehearsals often seem to go one of three ways:

  1. The first rehearsal is treated as the thing you need to get through before real rehearsals begin: the creative team is guarded and cautious, and the actors throw the read through away casually; or
  2. The creative team is connected, enthusiastic, and focused: the actors take the creativity of the designer presentations and run with it, actually using the reading as a means to begin exploration of the play; or
  3. Personalities clash as a sense of doom begins to set in: the actors appear miscast, the creative team unprepared, and the script far from finished, and the reading sets off the brave faces and spiraling rationalizations of how it will all work out in the end once X, Y, and Z are fixed.

I’ve been in all three of these situations, and while the first rehearsal doesn’t always determine the course of the production, it can have a surprising degree of impact. And to that end, I’ve found it pays to be as prepared as possible, and to treat the first day of rehearsal as a kind of show the producing organization puts on, putting the artists involved in a state of trusting, relaxed, excitement.

Problem is, so much depends on the personalities of the artists involved, that no amount of preparation can inoculate you against options #1 and #3.

So I’m pleased and relieved to say that our first rehearsal for Jacob’s House fell in #2. Highlights included actor Bianca LaVerne Jones saying” There’s no place I’d rather be right now”, setting off similar affirmations from the rest of the creative team; costume designer Hannah Rose Peck telling the first timers how much they’d enjoy working w/Flux, and then presenting a power point powerhouse of a design; actors Matthew Archambault and Jessica Angleskhan making everyone laugh; SM Jodi Witherell providing a beautiful space for our first read through; and above all, a dynamic read through with newcomers to the process Zack Calhoon and Kelli Holsopple giving especially sharp reads.

To make matters more sweet, coming off the train I bumped into John Hurley, artistic director of Impetuous Theater Group, fresh off their first rehearsal for Crystal Skillman’s The Vigil. John was buzzing with the energy of their read-through and post rehearsal costume design meeting, and it reminded me how Flux is a part of this larger Indie Theatre community.

Meanwhile, Facebook tells me Theatre of the Expendable also had their first rehearsal last night for Almost Exactly Like Us. I love the thought of three creative teams gathered around three tables to bring three very different plays to life in the same city; and I know it is happening all over this country, theatres big and small trying to make that critical first rehearsal count.

Any good first rehearsal stories? Or did you, too, have a first rehearsal last night? Leave it all in the comments, please.

2 Comments on "First Day Of Rehearsal(s)"

  1. Carissa Cordes · March 26, 2010 at 8:21 pm · Reply
  2. August Schulenburg · March 26, 2010 at 8:44 pm · Reply

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