Take Note

Every idea started from a blank piece of paper.

Every idea started from a blank piece of paper.

As I write this, I’m making a cup of coffee. Not something I typically do at 5 pm, but today’s different. Today I get to start rehearsals for my next play.


I’m kind of stuck in my ways when it comes to rehearsing a play, and one of those ways is coffee. Maybe not every night, but several during the week, getting a jolt of caffeine an hour or so before rehearsals is crucial.

Also important are several other quirks that I “must” follow:

  • I will carry my script with me everywhere I go, from today through closing night. Even if I never look at it.
  • I will always bring a large bottle of water to rehearsal. (And snacks, ‘cuz, you know…..acting works up an appetite.)
  • I will choose the color, or colors, of my highlighter very carefully for highlighting my lines.
  • I will score my scenes with great detail, using a system combined from various sources and developed over many years.
  • I will only score my script in pencil.
  • I will take notes from the director in a shorthand no one else could likely decipher

But this time, for this play, I’m going to break one of my patterns. 

While some actors don’t really write down their notes (don’t ask me why) I write notes each day. In a notebook, not the script. Typically for every new play I start with a new small notebook. Only on a few rare instances have I ripped everything out of a previously used notebook, and used the remainder. Choosing the size and look of the notebook is often done with great consideration of the play and role at hand.

Yes, I know this sounds odd, but I’m a bit of a tactile person—so weight, look, feel, etc. are all important to me. The practicality and feel of the notebook, the pen, the script in my hand—whether it’s bound or loose-leafed—these are all players in the experience. And while there may not be a right or wrong way these choices are always made.

This time I’m going to experiment and it could be risky. While I’ll still use a small notebook for taking notes from the director, I’m also going to use my iPad (and the Moleskine app) to write down all my other notes, thoughts, doodling, scratching ideas, etc., throughout rehearsal. I can pull in pictures and links and tie things together more easily. 

I’m not sure how this is going to impact my work, and I can’t be sure I won’t abandon the idea after the first week, but I’m hoping it’s going to shake things up for me in my process in some way. Help to learn, grow and expand my process.

Isn’t that what it’s really about anyway? 



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