Monday, September 6, 2010

The Upside of the Downside



When I was a young actress brimming with self-importance, I didn't understand that a "technical rehearsal" in the theatre was not about me.

I didn't believe the six o'clock news wasn't about me either; such is the cocktail of youth, confidence and arrogance. Unbearable.

Technical rehearsals require actors to be onstage and directed to jump from cue to cue so the light and sound crews can rehearse their duties. The actors have been rehearsing for weeks or months in a rehearsal space and are all jazzed up about finally being onstage, and they sometimes forget that "It's not about you!" This is the first time for the crew to learn and practice on their equipment.

When I was twenty-two and in one such rehearsal, I had a tizzy-fit at being asked to stand around quietly for what I thought was way too long. I stuck my hands on my hips and announced to the director, sitting "out there" in the dark, "I'll be in my dressing room. When you have it together, you can come and get me."

Honestly, what a spoiled prig I was. I can admit this now but of course it's a much too late of an apology for those crew members and that director.

To make up for my horrible behavior, I now teach small children the importance of a technical rehearsal, and they respond much better than I did.

For the "Macbeth" technical rehearsal we were missing four actors. I took a chair onstage with the cast and dashed around, filling in those parts. From this position I also had to call out to the back of the auditorium when cues needed adjusting.

The upside of my place onstage was to be the midst of my young charges. They treated me kindly as they might an understudy going on for the first time. They whispered reminders to me. They were super vigilant about their roles. They copied my professionalism and what can sometimes be a painstaking rehearsal turned into an efficient and beneficial experience for both the actors and the crew.

The four girls on a cruise would have a big catch-up on performance day, but we did okay without them for "the tech."


CHILDREN'S WRITES: Journal Entries
One time I slaped my big brother because He didn't let play this relley cool game that he just got for gamestop arond the corner of our house. It's call modern warfare 2. So, I slapped him relly hard and he locked me out of the house.
Oliver, 4th grade

When my sister was in my room and I yelled at her and said go away dont ever come in my room again after I said that I felt so bad I really wanted to regrate that.
Page, 3rd grade

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