That Point in Rehearsals

It feels like crunch time. Which is not the same as panic mode, something to be avoided and something only acceptable much closer to opening. No, this is crunch time. A time for all ducks to be in a row. For no time to be wasted. We’re playing for all the marbles.

A time to not be wasted mixing metaphors in to a hodgepodge ghoulash stew.

Last night at rehearsal I reminded the actors of what’s on our rehearsal schedule for the remainder of said schedule, starting with today being “off book day”, and ending with opening in a little over two weeks. In between was speckled with a few schedule conflicts, a tiny preview and a looming tech rehearsal. Our only time in the space. I think it appropriately made a few of them nervous or on guard. I think one wasn’t really paying attention, and another took the whole thing in stride.

Concerned or not, it was important that we all see where we are in this process, and recognize what needs to be done. Right now the things I’m most concerned with aren’t the actors, or the scenes. Those are shaping up nicely. We’ll be off book, we’ll work through those stumbles, then take a few big leaps (a couple have already happened) and give it some polish, and it’ll be ready.

No, my concerns are all the other production things—checking off that list of props, costumes and set pieces that need to be acquired. It’ll all come together, I’ve no doubt, but I always seem to need one element to fret over, and now the turn belongs to these things. Previously I sprouted a few grey hairs over script, casting, rehearsal space, press and marketing materials, and even getting a darn slot! Now, I need to fixate on finding the right gun and a newspaper and about ten other items.

Last night as I drifted off, and thankfully I did drift off, I realized that the only things going through my head were things to do with the show: direction to give and scenes to fix, props to find, programs to plan, music to acquire…..All show related. And I thought to myself as I struggled to shake those thoughts and still my mind:

Oh. I’m at that point. I’ve slipped in to the murky area of the process where every waking thought involves planning, list making and solving problems so we can get to opening feeling exhausted, relieved and excited and yet satisfied with what’s presented to the world.

It’s not a bad point in time to be. It always comes and it’s always a little necessary, whether I’m acting or directing. It may be the thing that keeps the focus and prevents it all from becoming….what was that word someone said? Oh, right…from becoming “total crap.”


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