How to Survive the Community Theatre Rehearsal Process

Liz Chirico

  • Massachusetts Columnist

Congratulations! You went through the audition process and made it into the cast. Now comes rehearsals. 3 or 4 days a week for a few hours at a time. No problem, right? It wouldn’t be except I’ll bet you still have other things going on in your life. Work/school (maybe both!) and the additional commitments those bring plus family, friends… you get the picture. Plus I’m sure you’d like to eat and sleep at some point too, right? Here’s how to (attempt to) manage it all and stay (somewhat) sane. 

1.    Be ready!

Organize yourself and everyone and everything around you. Take an hour or so a week to plan meals, run errands (better yet- use Amazon Prime!), figure out who needs to be where (for more on this see #2) those sorts of things. The last thing you want to deal with on a rehearsal day is anything else but figuring out how the hell you’re going to learn one more dance. 

2.    Share the spotlight!

Don’t try going at the 8-12 week rehearsal process without knowing you’re going to need to lean on people. You can’t do everything nor should you try. Let your significant other help around the house, cook (or order take-out), ask friends to help shuttle the kids. Warn a theater friend (preferably one who’s not in the same show as you) you may want to vent during the process or need help running lines. Whatever it is don’t feel ashamed/embarrassed to ask for help. Your friends and family will keep you sane. 

3.    Treat yo self!

You know those long days. Those days when you go straight from work/school to rehearsal, arrive home around 10 or 11 p.m. only to still have a mountain of laundry to do, dishes to clean, etc. Sometimes you can enlist help (see #2) sometimes it’s down to you. It’s those days (or the day after) that you need a pick-me-up. Grab yourself a latte (I’m a big fan of Starbucks caramel macchiato in case anyone’s curious), splurge on those cute boots to wear at the cast party, pick up a sassy new lipstick- whatever helps you through those long days.

4.    Remember you!

If you work, chances are you have a built in break. Use that time to eat sure but more importantly use it for you. Take a walk (it might be your only chance for fresh air and sunshine), have your nails done, read a few chapters in your favorite book, whatever it is make sure it’s something to lift you and help keep you sane.

5.    Don’t forget those outside the show.

As rehearsals become more intense and more prevalent, it can feel that the only people you see are your castmates. Which is great because I’m sure they’re all fantastic people but you probably have other folks in your life you’d like to stay in touch with as well. FB and email are fine but nothing beats face-to-face conversation. In lieu of that (because, hello- rehearsal!) call folks. That’s what your phone was designed for after all. I love to call folks as I go to/from rehearsal. I plug in my hands-free headset and I have 30-45 minutes of uninterrupted convo time. 

Of course during tech week, all bets are off.