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  • 1.  How to rehearse

    Posted 01-20-2022 08:30
    Hello Fellow Teachers!  Does anyone have a lesson on how to rehearse?  My middle schoolers seem to think reading through a scene once counts as rehearsing, I think they need concrete steps.  Thanks!

    Lesley Ruzon

  • 2.  RE: How to rehearse

    Posted 01-27-2022 10:02
    Hi Lesley! A couple of general notes about rehearsals that I would be sure to emphasize to your students to help them understand that a performance is more than just reading lines:

    • A good rule of thumb for directors is to plan on one hour of rehearsal for every page of script (so 60 pages=60 hours).
    • Choose your production date and work backwards to make sure you have enough time allotted in your schedule.
    • The first rehearsal is usually a read through, but each rehearsal should be designed to move the production forward. Throughout the rehearsal process, blocking is added, lines are memorized, characters are developed and relationships are established, props are brought in, sets are built, costumes are worn, lighting/sound effects/stage crew are added. If you are working on a musical, dance and music also need to be factored in. There's a lot to accomplish and get comfortable with before a production is ready to be performed for an audience!
    Here are a couple additional resources for you about rehearsals, specifically take a look at these two:
    Directing the Novice Actor
    The Stages of Rehearsal

    Anyone have other ideas for Lesley on teaching students about the rehearsal process?

    Ginny Butsch
    Community Engagement Manager
    Educational Theatre Association

  • 3.  RE: How to rehearse

    Posted 01-28-2022 08:57
    These are all great tips and insights!

    Although it is an older text Lawrence Carra's (and Alexander Dean's) The Fundamentals of Stage Direction is a great text for directors. Although very technical, it has a lot of great exercises and other take aways! The Chapter (in my version 14) on Rehearsals is extremely helpful here, as it breaks down all the stages of rehearsal right until opening night.

    There is also a book, Notes on Directing which I found very helpful. It is a list of helpful notes discovered over a career as a director.

    I wish happiness and joy on the journey of play directing!

    Randall Adkison,
    Interim Executive Director, Florida Association for Theatre Education
    Assistant State Director for Festival Operations, Florida Thespians

    Teaching Artist, Teaching Artist Alliance

  • 4.  RE: How to rehearse

    Posted 01-30-2022 17:26
    Thanks, Randall.  I'll look for that book.

    Lesley Ruzon

  • 5.  RE: How to rehearse

    Posted 01-30-2022 17:24
    Thanks Ginny!

    Lesley Ruzon

  • 6.  RE: How to rehearse

    Posted 01-28-2022 15:08

    Lesley, I have a suggestion if you are referring to scenes that students are rehearsing semi-independently during class.  Giving them a particular focus for each day's rehearsal might help them to understand that rehearsal is a process. 

    Here are a few:
    1.  Make sure you know what every single word means.  Lookup any words you don't know.  Rehearse the script.
    2.  Find 3 (or 5) adjectives to describe your character.  Share these with your scene partner(s).  Discuss which lines in the script made you choose these adjectives.  (You might have them complete a GOTE sheet.)  Rehearse the script.
    3.  Design a costume for your character. Briefly discuss your ideas with your scene partner(s).  Make sure you justify your ideas by referencing lines in the script.  Rehearse the script.
    4.  Determine your character's main objective for the scene.  In other words, what change do you--as the character--wish to affect by saying the lines in the scene?  Discuss with your partner(s).  Rehearse the script.
    5.  Block your scene and write the blocking you decide upon in the margins of your script in pencil.  Remember that characters move for reasons.  They may have practical reasons, such as getting a pen from a desk.  Movement may be confrontational, advancing on a character to show power or to accuse or demand something.  Movement may be evasive, moving away (usually downstage) to escape a difficult conversation or keep a character from seeing your face.  Do not restrict yourself to only the blocking in the script.  Once you have some blocking written down, rehearse the script again.  Erase and re-block anything that doesn't feel right.
    6.  If you believe you are close to being off-book, let one partner keep holding the script and others call "Line." Switch who is holding the script, and repeat.

    Going by the general rule of thumb that Ginny has mentioned-one page of script=one hour of rehearsal-you can get a rough idea of how many minutes of class time should be spent rehearsing a scene.  Many middle and high school students memorize very quickly, and they equate memorization with being ready to perform.  It is difficult to get them to understand how rehearsal is supposed to be a process that involves discovery.


    CJ Breland
    Retired Theatre Arts Educator

  • 7.  RE: How to rehearse

    Posted 01-30-2022 17:30
    Thank you CJ!  I will try those steps with the next in-class scene work.

    Lesley Ruzon