Someone posted a quote on social media recently….
“You don’t rehearse to get it right. You rehearse so you can’t get it wrong” — or something to that effect.
I don’t know who said it, but I believe in the sentiment. Initial rehearsals are indeed about getting it right. But, as the process continues, rehearsals become more and more about eliminating the chances that you’ll accidentally get it wrong. You have to drill everything repeatedly. The lines, the lyrics, the music, the movement….
In the beginning we rehearsed each of these separately. Then we began putting them together. It was difficult at first — remembering what you’re saying/singing, how you’re saying/singing it, and what your body is doing at the same time. But then, after countless repetitions, it started to make sense. To feel comfortable, even.
That’s when the fun begins!
When the words and movements have become so ingrained that they just flow naturally, you can move on to the next level of nuance and experimentation. Once the framework is solidly in place you can start to play around in it.
For the past few weeks we’ve been in the process of playing. We run-through an Act, or the entire show. Then we’ll break it apart and address any remaining weaknesses and uncertainties. Sometimes we throw an entire section out the window and re-work it altogether. But this is all done in the sense of play. Having fun, making it better, pushing it further.
I’m a little sad that this process is now coming to an end.
Tonight will be our final full-cast run-through of the show in a rehearsal studio. Then we’ll run the show with the understudies in the principal roles on Sunday — an especially fun and exciting way to end the rehearsal process!
Monday will be a first rehearsal with the orchestra. And then we move into the theater.
The day we move into the theater is when I start to say goodbye to the cast. They’ll know what they’re doing and they’ll have their systems in place. So, from my perspective, those final rehearsals will be about welcoming and guiding the technical crew as they join the process.
I’ll still watch run-throughs and I’ll still give notes. But the bulk of my attention will shift to writing and re-writing lighting cues, giving costume notes, working out sound issues, coordinating with the front of house — all the things that simply can’t be done until we’re in the theater.
And then Opening Night will come and I will join the audience. I’ll watch, laugh, applaud — and possibly still give a small note or two. But, for the most part, I’ll be watching so many things go right because we will have eliminated the possibility of them going wrong.