Keep the actors excited

zac850

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Joined
Nov 21, 2003
Location
New York
Wow, I just realized that the topic of this post sounded really wrong... anyway....

I have noticed that the actors tend to get a little lax about memorizing there lines and are not paying much attention for some of the rehearsals, especially towards the middle of the rehearsal schedule. I think that a good way to keep them interested in the play is to introduce some new element that they can play with, or something that shows them that the show is going up, and that it will happen. For instance, after 3 weeks of working in a small space, the actors got bored, and we moved into the theater/gym area where we will be performing. This kept them interested for about 2 weeks, but now there getting bored again. Today I went into school and wired up half of our (12) lights (we're getting more soon... if we can get them donated... wanna donate us lights, its a tax right-off...). Come Monday or Tuesday I am going to just leave the stage lights on, and make it look more like a stage and less like a gym... Also on Monday I will be showing the actors the star field that will be going behind the stage (we made it ourself... not enough money to buy one...) as well as how the main stage item, a tree, is coming along. My hope by doing all this is to keep the actors interested in the play, and focused on making the play a very good one.

When they get bored with these toys, we will be introducing the rest of the stage pieces, just to keep them on their toes.

Has anyone else noticed this. this is at the high school level, so we also have some actors going out into the corners and making out.... (but I know all about that, and they know I do, so nothing all that bad happens....)

Anyway, does anyone else notice this? I know for myself, I need to keep doing something new, because otherwise i get bored with it. (example, I tried a new way of wiring up the lights and the dimmers, and so far it seems to be a lot easier...)
 

soundman

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Joined
Sep 4, 2003
Location
Nashville TN
A 1*1 about 3 feet long does the trick for getting there lines down. If the cast wants to be there and do a good show you will not need to excite them but it dosnt sound like it. I dont sit in on many reherals but when I do it seems like or director keeps it fresh by changing his mind.
 

megf

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2003
Location
CA
Introducing costumes pieces and small, fixable props can also ensure that actors stay on their toes and pay attention. Even at the university level, we try to keep rehearsals lively - my SM kept a bag of candy on hand after we blocked Act I.

A good way to make people memorize their lines - set the deadline early, and enforce being off-book. If an actor still has problems remembering their lines by two or three days after the scene has been blocked, they get to stay afterwards to sweep...
 

zac850

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Joined
Nov 21, 2003
Location
New York
soundman said:
A 1*1 about 3 feet long does the trick for getting there lines down.
I've done this. works very well. problem is you need a good pice of wood, otherwise you get splinters


soundman said:
I dont sit in on many reherals but when I do it seems like or director keeps it fresh by changing his mind.
yea, problem is that my director never tells anyone what to do. she will just sit and watch as you try to figure out how to act, and it is rare that she tells you what to do and when. annoys the actors a lot....
 

soundman

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Joined
Sep 4, 2003
Location
Nashville TN
That dosnt sound like much of a director, isnt it their job to tell people what to do? If you have a student director you might want him/her to pipe up and start directing.
 

zac850

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Joined
Nov 21, 2003
Location
New York
No, its not a student director, its a teacher. Shes an actor, and she sorta just took on directing the shows (shes also the librarian). Shes very nice, but isn't that good of a director. However, she basicly lets me do whatever I need/want to do, and dosen't tell me what to do, which I like...
 

soundman

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Joined
Sep 4, 2003
Location
Nashville TN
The reason I brought up the student director was because they tend to take advise a little better than directors. She sounds like a nice person but she needs to help the actors with scence and give input.
 

emanueltech

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2004
Location
London , England
My director - EXCELLENT ACTOR , a drunk and a man who can direct and also knows the basics of tech'n.

However the Musical Director, is a twat. He knows absolutely nothing apart from how to blow a trumpet.

the director tells the cast to shut up during the tech when im programming the desk and the lights go out - he has to explain to the cast that it isnt a power cut, its that we are programming.

However the musical director joins in with the cast and starts shouting 'why have the lights gone out'.

Also The Musical Director belieived that we did not need to go up the rig to move any lights for Sweeney Todd (the show at the time) because he thought the lights from the last show (A rock show) would be adequete. The gel arrangement was somethng like 2red 2 white 2 blue a strobe and a smoke whereas we needed something a hell of a lot differant from this

The Director soon put the musical director in his place
tc
 

sallyj

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2004
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Maybe turning the hose on the people making out in the corner would help.
My theory is that they are there to contribute to a production. Maybe if they are that bored they should go elsewhere. Theatre is not all glamour, as we all know.
Maybe they could be helping each other memorize lines while waiting at rehearsal.
I think it is cool that you want to try to keep them interested by introducing elements early- actually that is a good idea so they don't get slammed with everything all at once- probably helps techs go a little more smoothly.
Unfortunately this problem isn't limited to the High School level. You are not alone.

SJM
 

SMTashi

Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2004
Location
London, UK
Since you're still at a high school level then just let them have fun with it as well. Not slacking or so on. But rather allow them to order for pizza to have at the end of rehearsal, reward the first ones to memorize their script and be off the book before you ask them to be. That kind of thing. I found it works relativly well in high school theatre.
 

autophage

Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2004
Well, we sometimes try introducing actors to different theorists - for instance, today we're rehearsing Suzuki-style - barefoot, all movements come from feet; but tomorrow we may be rehearsing Stanislavski-style. Some will find it boring but if you get into some really strange warmups it can bring something intereting - especially when someone finds an element of their character they hadn't gotten into previously

But that's about excitemement with rehearsals. As for memorizing lines... they'll either do it, or they won't, and there's only so much can be done about that.
 

propmonkey

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Joined
Jul 22, 2004
Location
Beloit/Milwaukee, WI
for our msucial we had a little light down there i had control with our light borard to warn the pit to get ready and one rehearsal(our director was gone but we got it on tape) i keep flashing it annoyed the hell out of the pit director and made the actors laugh. o fun times....
 

ralxz

Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2005
Location
Seattle, WA
Well we just had a really serious play (Macbeth by Shakespear), and I think the best way to keep the actors interested, in general, is to have at least a moderate-funny play next :p
 

saxman0317

Active Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2006
Location
western NY
Like ive said before...walk out. If its dress rehersal and their stillon book, just leave. Iknow its mean, but its the only thing that ive found to work. we do our jobs, why cant they do theirs? I dont want to work for something thats not going to come out good.