As a director, nothing makes me happier when my actors come into rehearsal knowing their lines, cues, blocking and choreography. It’s so clearly evident which actors have put in the work, and it’s wonderful to see their growth and progress over the rehearsal process. Those are the actors I want to continue working with show after show!
As an actor, it simply makes life easier and less stressful if you keep a daily habit of reviewing your script and building your character. That way when it comes to the dreaded “off-book day,” you aren’t scrambling and looking foolish in front of everyone else.
Here are 20 ways to make rehearsal a daily part of your life!
- Re-read your script. Know it forwards, backwards, and sideways. Get off-book as early as possible.
- Practice saying your lines aloud, either by yourself or with a friend.
- Handwrite or type your lines from memory.
- Listen to the show soundtrack.
- If there is one, watch a filmed stage version or movie version of your show.
- Go through your script and make note of all your entrances, exits and cue lines. (I like to colour-code my scripts.)
- Take a vocal lesson. Have your vocal teacher go over your specific part. Vocal lessons are fantastic for both singing and speaking.
- Stretch or do yoga to stay limber. Improve your flexibility and stamina!
- Research the time period of the show to really immerse yourself in that world. Look up popular music, fashions of the time, technology, scientific advances, the political structure…
- Have a friend over and run lines/blocking/choreo together.
- Review your blocking and choreography. Dance like nobody’s watching!
- Record yourself reciting/performing your lines and watch it, making note of any tics or bad habits (slouching, shuffling, playing with your hair, etc).
- Write a biography or backstory for your character.
- Go through your lines and make note of how your character is feeling in the scene, what they want for each scene, where they just came from and where they are going to.
- Explore your character’s physicality. Are they old or young? Stiff or sprightly? How would they walk, reach for something, open a jar?
- If you’re working on a show with difficult language (i.e. Shakespeare or Marlowe), go through your lines and “translate” them into modern English so you really understand what you are saying. No Fear Shakespeare is a great resource for this!
- Draw a cartoon of your lines to help yourself memorize them.
- Do some strength training (push-ups, sit-ups, weights) to improve your strength and stamina to do lifts and tricks.
- Record your scene partner’s lines (your cue lines) and leave empty space on the recording to say your lines in.
- Review your work anywhere you can when you have a spare minute… on the bus, in between classes, before you go to sleep…
What are your best tips and tricks for making rehearsal part of your daily routine?
Let me know on Twitter (@kerryhishon) or in the comments below!
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