Surviving the First Rehearsal
At the first rehearsal, kids in the cast receive their scripts and get to know the rest of their collaborators. Some cast members may want to count their lines, but this should be discouraged. The authors created every character for a reason, and each role impacts the entire production.
The cast is set and now it’s time to get to work. Here are some ways that you can help your child.
- Place a copy of the rehearsal schedule on the refrigerator or the family bulletin board
- Make sure your child arrives at rehearsal on time, dressed appropriately, and prepared for the rehearsal
- After rehearsal, ask your child how it went and if there’s anything you can do to help
If your child is struggling to memorize lines, here are some solutions:
- Encourage your child to review songs, dances and scenes outside of rehearsal and in front of a small, supportive group. You can even do it at dinner time and you’ll have your own dinner theatre!
- The memorize scene work, have your child break down the point of the scene: what is it about? What’s the most important information present or action taking place? Answering these questions will help your child better understand the scene and improvise if something goes awry!
- Have your child read over scenes before going to sleep at night and first thing in the morning. This is a great way to memorize parts.
- It’s helpful to practice dialogue, dances and songs out loud and in front of a mirror rather than “in your head”. This enlists kinaesthetic (muscle) memory as well as visual and aural memory to help learn the part.
At these rehearsals, the director adds the technical elements of lights, sound, hand properties (aka props), and even special effects such as fog. Tech rehearsals can seem long and tedious, but are where the important details of the show are ironed out.
Here are some ways you can help:
- Send your child to rehearsal well-fed, but avoid sugary snacks and soda
- If you have an interest and the time, volunteer to assist with technical needs of the show
- Ask the director if you can assist by bringing snacks and drinks to the rehearsal
- Volunteer any of your special skills - e.g. volunteering your time to take pictures, to help get kids into costume, or keep the downstairs running smoothly.
- Because there will be a lot of downtime, encourage your child to bring homework, a book or another quiet activity to help prevent excess noise that could distract the directors and fellow cast and crew.
Costumes are now added to complement the technical elements now in place. With actors in “dress”, their characters come to life in a magical way.
Since your child has spent a lot of time rehearsing and developing her or his character, it’s possibile that a costume might look or feel awkward at first. But it’s important to be patient and grateful for the costumer’s hard work, since many hours have been spent sewing and shopping for costume pieces. While a costume might seem a little silly by itself, it will blend in or stand out beautifully in the overall design of the show.
It is very important that cast members avoid eating or drinking while in costume.
Extracted from: Family Matters, A Parent’s Guide to the Magic of Theatre