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PREPARING FOR REHEARSALS. CHAPTER 10. Rehearsals should be ‘fun’. Well-organized not painful Efficient not draining Productive not a waste of time Joyful not emotional. Have a clear plan. You need to free the director and actors to concentrate on bringing the play to life

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rehearsals should be fun
Rehearsals should be ‘fun’
  • Well-organized not painful
  • Efficient not draining
  • Productive not a waste of time
  • Joyful not emotional
have a clear plan
Have a clear plan
  • You need to free the director and actors to concentrate on bringing the play to life
  • Free and unstructured rehearsals can lead to interesting results


  • Structure enables the creative process by freeing the brain and heart
director s checklist
Director’s checklist

Preparing for rehearsal

  • Organize the schedule (integrating actor conflicts)
  • Make rehearsal plans
  • Prepare a DPN (Director’s Production Notebook)
  • Organize the rehearsal props
  • Define the role and responsibilities of the PSM
  • Develop a sign-in system, if needed
  • Clearly communicate expectations to actors
  • Set rehearsal rules
  • Compile a contact list
  • Display groundplans and elevations
  • Create a safe environment
  • Request that the actors prepare for each rehearsal and set goals
equity calls
Equity Calls
  • Actors are on call for all rehearsals
  • They are required to attend whenever called
  • Typical work week is TU-SAT from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • During Techs and Dresses, Equity rules allow for later calls
    • EIGHT OUT OF TEN. A schedule wherein actors can be scheduled for up to eight hours in a ten hour day.
    • TEN OUT OF TWELVE. A standard call for tech and dress rehearsal periods.
    • Equity requires five-minute breaks every hour or ten minutes if you work an hour and a half…PSM monitors these times carefully
rehearsal rules
  • Ten minutes early is on time.
  • Call PSM if you are going to be late.
  • Warm up on your own
  • Be prepared
  • No complaining
  • No cellphones
  • Breaks on the hour or hour and a half
  • No “directing” other actors
  • Problems? Speak up!
  • Finish eating before, after or during breaks
  • Come to rehearsal “high” on art, nothing else
  • Come to rehearsal with goals and plans
  • Bring something to read when not onstage
  • If you need help, ask for it
  • Have fun, don’t take it too seriously
college community theatre
College & community theatre
  • Students and working people have thousands of things going on in their lives
  • Even when the director insists on no conflicts, they are an inevitability
  • As such, it is better to cast a good actor with a few conflicts than a mediocre one with none—but not always
  • Once you cast, use the audition form to help guide you in planning your rehearsal schedule
  • Keep the list of conflicts at hand as you schedule, make sure the PSM has a copy
creating a schedule
Creating a schedule
  • Break the script into french scenes/rehearsal units
  • For musicals, add songs and dance numbers to the breakdowns
  • Make a list of all scenes everyone is involved in
  • Note how much time is needed for each “unit”
  • Consider carefully the scheduling of first runs and designer/crew watches
  • Note dates for techs, dresses and performances
schedule the landmarks
Schedule the ‘landmarks’


  • First day
  • Table readings
  • Blocking rehearsals
  • Off-book
  • Runthroughs
  • Crew watch
  • Final runthrough
  • Spacing rehearsals
  • Technicals
  • Final Dress
  • Opening Night


  • First day
  • Music rehearsals
  • Dance/staging rehearsals
  • Off-book
  • Runthroughs and brush-ups
  • Crew watch
  • Final runthrough
  • Spacing rehearsals
  • Technicals
  • Final Dress
  • Opening Night
first meeting
First Meeting

Designer presentations and readthrough

already scheduled rehearsals
Already scheduled rehearsals

Add your crew watches, techs, dresses,

performances into your grid…

first runthrough
First runthrough

This should be between the halfway point and ¾ point of the rehearsal process before the Techs

table reading
Table reading

How much time you need depends upon

what your goals are

blocking rehearsals
Blocking rehearsals
  • Schedule scene by scene
  • Try to schedule actors back to back
  • Breakdown each rehearsal
  • Double-check conflicts
  • Be respectful of everyone’s time
for a musical
For a musical…
  • Music rehearsals – non-musicians will need more time
  • Read and sing-through should be added to the schedule
  • Staging and dance rehearsals will often need to be scheduled out of sequence
  • Music and dance reviews will always be needed
  • Full runs are trickier since so much more in involved
review the schedule
Review the schedule
  • Check and double-check before publishing…
prepare the rehearsal room
Prepare the rehearsal room
  • Rehearsal props/furniture
  • Water and restrooms
  • Director’s table/chairs
  • Prop table
  • Rack for rehearsal clothes
  • Chairs for actors and staff
  • Ground plan
  • Set renderings
  • Costume renderings
final thoughts
Final Thoughts

The first rehearsals set the tone for the entire process

stumble throughs
  • You need to review as often as you can