Eighteen Ways to Make Your Directing Experience Less Stressful, Part Two
This is a continuation of my second post about my experiences in directing. Click here for my first post:
If I have learned anything over these thirty-eight years of directing it is that directing is stressful. Hopefully, my lessons learned can help you!
9. I begin and end rehearsal on the prearranged time. There is nothing worse than being told, “rehearsals will be from 7:00 to 9:00 pm” and then the rehearsal times change to three hours each night. Ugh.
10. Glib lines between weeks of the show. Glibbing lines is a way to rehearse the lines of the show in a quick and focused manner. Generally, I have my actors sit in a circle and run the lines, but other directors ask their casts to practice the blocking as well.
11. I announce a deadline for the off book date and stick to it. This is a biggie with me. Deadlines are deadlines. If I think a cast needs more time with their scripts in hand, I’ll adjust the schedule. But one can’t really “act” until her hands are free. The first rehearsal off book is usually laborious, if not excruciating. I bode up when I know it’s off book night, but the deadline is a necessary evil.
12.. Use rehearsal props and tape the floor to the set’s measurements. There are people who are tactile learners and all of us are visual learners. Using a rehearsal prop benefits the actor in several ways. Showing the set’s measurements, parameters, steps. window, etc. is hugely helpful.
13. I suggest to a cast, but don’t require, that they rehearse in the shoes they plan to wear for the show. It’s amazing how much an actor’s posture and gait will change once they don their shoes. Long skirts are necessary on ladies as well. We have become a very relaxed dress society. Some women have trouble carrying off the poise that they need once they put on heeled shoes and a long skirt.
14. I always have two dress rehearsals.
15. I make time for a read thru of the script before my first blocking rehearsal. This gives me an opportunity to answer questions right from the beginning of the project. Everyone has a better idea of where I stand on everything.
16. I discourage an actor’s personal drama in rehearsals, encouraging them to leave it at the stage door. Enough said…
17. I substitute swear words only if I think the audience’s demographics can not tolerate them or the particular actor requests it of me. If I think an audience is going to spend their whole evening shocked by a swear word, like the dirty four letter F word, then I’ll cut it. If I have an actor who is very religious and is uncomfortable when using the Lord’s name in vain, I’ll adjust the verbiage to something that will give the same feeling, but won’t upset him.
18. I teach novice and student actors the correct way to rehearse accepting that some will have their own method to rehearse.
19. I close my rehearsals to anyone outside the production staff or cast. There is nothing worse than having a surprise guest to rehearsals. It distracts me and my cast members.
( When I was six years old, I had the opportunity to see Marcel Marceau in person in Paris, France.
I will NEVER forget it.)
20. I expect moments of frustration and euphoria in every rehearsal process. A little frustration isn’t going to hurt anyone, so long as it isn’t prolonged stress. And there is nothing more rewarding than a moment of “Oh my gosh, we did it!”
I love to direct, I honestly do. My resume is proof of that. If you’d like to hear my opinion about directing the Music Man musical, go to: My Musical Recommendation and Why
Next time, I’ll talk about my protagonist in Bumbling Bea, Beatrice Brace.
To purchase my book, Bumbling Bea, go to Amazon at Bumbling Bea
Contact me at Dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net