Those Last Four Weeks...

Liz Chirico

  • Massachusetts Columnist

That’s all that left until opening night. Half the rehearsal time is gone. And while half remains there’s still only 4 weeks. 4 weeks to nail the dances, memorize the lyrics, the notes (oh- you wanted me to learn my part, not the part of the person I’m standing next to? My bad!) and bring the show from a loose conglomeration of people somewhat moving and speaking in sync to something worthy of the ticket price, of driving to the theatre, of choosing to attend vs. the myriad of options folks have for entertainment today.

Is it just me or does every show hit this point about halfway through rehearsals when it seems like nothing will be right? The newness of being cast has worn off and it’s no longer a novelty to say, “I can’t, I have rehearsal.” I know, I chose this path but it’s always around this point other seemingly more exciting activities start happening which I have to selectively choose to attend or not. When one entire weekend day is taken over by rehearsals, you become so much more possessive of your other free weekend day.

Tempers start to fray around this point in the process. Nothing akin to tech week but there’s always a moment when frustrations arise over spending time rehearsing an already learned dance again, reviewing a vocal part again, wondering how so-and-so will ever manage to be off book, etc. It’s always around this point in the process I wonder why I do it to myself. I’m too far away from the end (opening night) to be excited for the final product because right now, what I see in rehearsals is nothing like (God I hope it’s nothing like) what performances will resemble. 

This is when it’s helpful to remember that it all comes together in the end. No, really. No matter how bad things look now, it will improve. (It has to, if only because you’re going to start running the show and repetition does wonders.)  That’s not to say you should only rely on rehearsals to practice. I am totally guilty of sitting on the couch on my nights off looking at my dance bag, my script, my music recorder saying, “I should practice but…” or “oh I have time, I’ll practice later.” Now is the time to remove “but” and “later” from my vocabulary. Because later is now. 

Now is the time to practice in the car (I don’t recommend rehearsing dances in the car but it’s a judgement free zone here), sing in the shower, recite lines to coworkers at lunch, whatever it takes for it to stick. Now is the time to take a deep breath at rehearsal and ask so-and-so if they could use a line buddy, a dance partner. After all it’s not just you on that stage. There’s no “i” in ensemble and from the star to the last crew member, we’re all the ensemble. When everyone pulls their weight, and pulls together then everyone wins and is a part of something to be proud of and cherish.

Photo: Auckland Theatre Company