A common question I get from parents time to time is, “What does my child need to bring to rehearsal?”
Now that Spotlight Acting School is constantly in the middle some kind of rehearsal (right now we are in full swing of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and starting up Aladdin and Alice in Wonderland. Cinderella and Arsenic and Old Lace audition this weekend), I thought it might be appropriate to share some rehearsal essentials. These are seven things that any actor needs to really thrive during practice!
1. Closed-Toe Shoes
So many times, especially during summer, it is easy to throw on some flip flops and head on to rehearsal. However, any kind of open toed shoes, such as flip flops or sandals, are not a good choice for rehearsal, and I’m not meaning in a fashion sense. Not only can it be difficult to dance and act in sandals, it can also be dangerous. I can’t count how many stubbed toes could have been prevented. Tennis shoes are always a safe choice that allow actors to move about comfortably. There are also jazz and character shoes to consider as well!
I cannot stress this one enough! What many people do not realize about Theatre is that it is an extremely athletic activity. For example, by the eighth time we practice a certain dance in just one rehearsal, it feels like a workout! Young actors (and seasoned ones as well) need to stay hydrated for obvious health reasons. Here at Spotlight, we encourage students to take breaks as they feel they need to, so to have at least one bottle of water nearby is very handy. There are also some instances where we rehearse in a place with no water fountain, so it is always good to get in the habit of bringing your own bottle.
3. Comfortable Clothes
I typically prefer to wear athletic clothes to rehearsal because of how much activity just an hour and a half can provide. Although athletic clothes are not required, rehearsal clothes should be very comfortable. If your young actor does not feel like he or she can move freely in his/her outfit, they should probably change. Actors have enough to worry about singing, dancing, and acting. They don’t have time to be concerned over a wardrobe malfunction!
I’m pretty sure I just heard every director in the world go, “Amen!” Here at Spotlight we value our scripts so much that we even have every cast take an oath that they will take care of their script. Sometimes it is inevitable that a script gets left behind, however the more rehearsals that script can make it there the better! Even when students have their lines memorized, scripts are important to practice so students can take notes, go over their lines, or follow along as we review the play.
5. A Pencil
Well, just like school we ask our students to come and take notes, but these notes aren’t for math or science. Of course, we know not every student can read or write, which is totally fine. For those who can, we have found note-taking super helpful for our students to remember what blocking and what stage directions they are instructed to do later. A lot of questions and forgotten direction can be fixed if our students write them down in their scripts.
6. Practice before Practice
This sort of goes hand in hand with bringing your script: knowing the stuff in it. Now parents, I know that most of the time by opening night you know the show as well as the kids do, but that means that they know it too! To push students to their full acting potential, several weeks before dress rehearsal week, we encourage students to be “off book,” which means to have their lines memorized. Because most of our shows take place over the span of several months, if rationed and planned, this is an easy feat. Memorizing a line a night may suffice, or perhaps practicing a dance a couple times before the next rehearsal will do. I know many students like to listen to the music in their car. As a director, it is very easy to tell the difference of when students do go home and practice and when they don’t.
7. Positive Attitude
Because some rehearsals can be difficult it is always best, but hard, to come with a positive outlook on things. I know it is difficult especially on the young ones to repeat something over and over again. It does help the whole atmosphere when students keep enjoying themselves and the rehearsal. Do we expect everyone to always wear a smile? No, though it would be nice. 🙂 However, rehearsal should be a fun atmosphere where children get to express themselves in the arts, and learn about how to better their performance skills. Here at Spotlight, we strive to make rehearsals a positive experience for everyone, therefore negative attitudes should be left at the door.
Of course there are other things every actor can bring to a rehearsal that fit their individual needs. Some students bring healthy snacks in case they get a little hungry. Some students bring notebooks to occupy their time when they are not learning a lesson or on the stage. Electronic devices are never encouraged to be used during rehearsal, including game consoles and cellphones. A cellphone can be used after rehearsal if the student needs to contact their parents or rides.
With these things your young actor can feel prepared and ready for rehearsal!