I can't stand actors that won't shut up. The fall musical for our HS has started rehearsals and already half the cast is jacken' around. Thankfully I'm not a stage manager for the show but the FIVE smad's (stage manager assistant director) are having a terrible time getting the cast to listen to them. Got any advise I could give to them to help em' out?
how big is your cast? are seperate meetings for seperate scenes a good idea, or are they all together, can you spread ppl out over your whole auditorium to rehearse small scenes and dialouges or do they have to rehearse as one big group? are there understudies to threaten to replace them with?
chess timers

go out and get one of those little chess timers, the type with two timers and a button on the top to change the time over.

whilst you're working, have one timer counting. whilst you're waiting for everyone to shutup, have the other timer running.

ONLY let them finish rehearsal once the first timer reaches five hours. (9.30 - 3.30 minus a 1hr lunch break.)

They get the picture real quick...
Who_touched... I like your idea. if only we didn't have to stay with them the ENTIRE time.
ccfan213- it's a fairly large cast but we normally rehearse individual scenes. it's the scenes where we need everyone where they think they can goof off or leave, like our music rehearsal where half the cast was gone by the end.
remind the actors that they are there voluntarily too and if they wanna mess around there wasting ur time and theres
who_touched_the_patch, that is an awesome idea!!! Anybody have links to a multi-hour chess timer?
FTOTY, I feel your pain.

I'm SMing a production of The King and I right now and we have 12 little kids in the show all of whom are louder than deisel engines. I have tried asking them nicely, asking them not-so-nicely, giving the quiet ones candy...pretty much everything short of kicking them and nothing has worked. Any suggestions?
Kick them.

On a more serious note, how young are they? There is always a time in youth when if they don't want to shut up, they won't. Blame it on attention span. What you need to do is make them want to shut up. However, without knowing the situation personally I am lost for ideas on how to do that.


it's the scenes where we need everyone where they think they can goof off or leave, like our music rehearsal where half the cast was gone by the end.
If they are starting to sneak out of rehersals then you must question why they wanted to take part in the first place. Asking them this personally works on a select group of people. If you need to convince them to be quiet, I find you need to tailor your request to each person and approach them individually. Of course, this becomes difficult with a large cast. That said, I like the chess timer idea. Peer pressure is a valuable tool.
It may be time to make an example out of someone one. Have a full cast meeting. The director should explain that the production is behind schedule because of the extre noise. Say that everyone will be given one more warning. Including crew. Then the next time, they will be removed from the cast. THEN DO IT. As long as they know they can get away with stuff, they will. Make them understand the overall success of the production is more important than one actor or tech. But this has to come from the "top", the director. Anyone less and it just looks mean.

Firing someone is not easy, but it's the most effective tool you have over the rest of them. I had to do it once on a production in Detroit. I had somebody escort the guy to the airport so he would be less likely to try and retaliate. But we had no more problems with him, or with anyone else.
I agree with Len. Most high school actors think that - because they are students - they are impune to the director's full wrath. They are wrong.

Obviously, it is necessary to make a stand. But I would caution against doing anything unnecessary that will hut the morale of the cast. Another important thing is to make sure it dosen't look like everyone's singling out the actors - even it they are the problem. Make eveything you say about the production, not the actors, until you have a specific group that is causing the problem.

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