Rehearsal is all about doing it over. And over and over.
We repeat things — music, lines, blocking, choreography — to learn them, to get better at them, and — sometimes — to realize they’re not working and need to be re-invented.
Tonight I re-invented the opening number. I’d wanted it to feel chaotic and somewhat disorganized but, no matter how many times we rehearsed it, it remained a blurred lump of aimless activity.
And it was all my fault.
I finally realized I’d been going at it all wrong. In order to create the effect of chaos, I needed to give the number focus and structure. Rather than one long string of simultaneous actions, it needed to be a staccato series of brief, but highly focused actions.
And now, after several hours of breaking it down beat by beat and identifying the specific actions and timing for each of more than twenty cast members, the opening number is vastly improved. It makes much more sense to the cast, it’s telling a story, it’s setting the right mood, and it’s finally achieving the chaotic effect I’d been hoping for.
I’m thankful that directors get do-overs too.