How a play goes from someone’s brain to a stage in NYC. Part 8: The Rehearsals.
By Pam Quinn (Writer)
We have had 6 rehearsals for Far From Chekhov. Tonight is our 7th. When making a rehearsal schedule, it’s important that you cover all possible ground and then cement it into your brain in a way that doesn’t seem forced and doesn’t get stale. How I generally start rehearsals for my projects is with blocking. Block Act One and then another day to Block Act Two. I believe that once the blocking is “out of the way” you can really start to hone in on 1.) The importance of the moment 2.) Character choices 3.) Memorization. I’m getting ahead of myself though... You REALLY start with a table reading...
The first table reading is so exciting. The cast comes together for the first time, your instincts make their appearance for the first time and you set the jumping off point for how far you and your character will grow through out the process. It’s a lot of firsts. The table reading for Chekhov couldn’t have gone better. I had mentioned in a previous blog that it felt as if we all had been doing this for years together when in actuality a lot of us had never heard each other read these parts before. Next you move on to blocking rehearsals...
Blocking helps you memorize and it’s SO important to be memorized before ANYTHING else, because a script in the hand is a show’s cock block, understand? You can’t be expected to really GO where you need to go when you’re relying on your script as a crutch. What was my line? Oh right... when I move stage right... I say THAT. Now I remember. It’s all helpful. A Stop and Start of Act one followed by Act two is the next event to take the stage. This is where you get to run through the acts and the director may stop you to ask questions about what your character’s motivations are or to fix blocking the might not work after seeing it all get put together. You take a few pages, you do your blocking, you read your lines and you begin to really think about each beat of the scene. What is my character thinking? Why do they do what they do or say what they say.
The process thus far has been extremely rewarding. The cast gets a long, the script is making changes here and there through its workshop process and I continue to learn so much about producing theatre and everything it takes to get the ultimate product you want. "really have to be presenting him a package. A beautifully wrapped, glossy, sweet-smelling show”.
PAM QUINN Moved to California from New York at age 14 and entered the professional world of writing at 17 on the west coast. By her 20th birthday she had three original works produced in the Los Angeles area. Rising from sketch comedy writing and a background in theatre, Pam collected what she had learned over the years and compiled it into playwriting. She began collaborating on an idea for an original musical (Right Together, Left Together) with Will Collyer and Jacob Harvey. Since moving back to New York in ’05, Pam hasn’t stopped breathing this idea. She co-founded The Unknown Artists (www.theunknownartists.org) with Emily Clark and continues to be prolific within this fantastic company. www.uaplayclub.wordpress.com
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