Notes On The Rehearsal of a Play

   My new play Sparkling Object opens on November 3, 2010 at The Canal Park Playhouse, a new theater in Tribeca in New York City.

     Rehearsals have just begun and I've been doing rewrites and making changes in the script. There's nothing like hearing your lines not only read aloud, but "acted" by a first-rate cast. From the first read-through of the play I started hearing words and lines differently. Fortunately, most of what I'd written worked very well. But then there were the occasional lines, beats, moments and parts of scenes that didn't work.

     I knew it the instant I heard them. After the first read-through the actors had questions. Good questions. Why does he say this? What do you mean by that? What does she want? Guess what? All the questions came in places where I knew something wasn't right. So I fixed them.

     As rehearsal progressed there were more questions, not only from the cast but from the director. Important questions. Sometimes about the choice of a word or a pause or line that didn't feel right. Sometimes an actor or the director had a suggestion that made great sense or a question that drove me straight into a rewrite to do some clarifying.

     With each rehearsal the script is getting better and tighter. And the changes I'm making are becoming fewer. I felt confident that the play worked on the first day of rehearsal. I feel even more confident now and that's because I've had the good fortune to have wonderful actors and a savvy director who inspire me to work harder to make the play--and our production--better.

     I'll be taking a break from blogging for the duration of rehearsal and throughout the production. I expect to resume posting in January.

4 comments:

  1. Reading this makes me want to write a play. How lucky to be able to hear your dialogue read aloud. I've had readings of my screenplay, but pretty much cold and certainly not rehearsed. I may write a play.

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  2. One of the things I enjoyed about working on my screenplay projects in a workshop is hearing the dialogue read aloud and realizing what didn't ring true or what were solid moments before I moved on further into the script. Though I'm certain it's a different and wonderful experience having lines read by professional actors, a workshop is better than sitting alone at your keyboard wondering if the line is really hysterical -- or just hysterical to you. If you haven't ever taken a writing workshop, it's worth the time.

    And DB, I can't wait to hear more about the rehearsal process and your experiences from the playwrights perspective.

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  3. Looking forward to attending. And that picture is a keeper!

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