Effective Rehearsal

by: Nathan Steele

Rehearsal is a time to first experiment with and explore the literature, searching for new meanings and different performance choices. Second, rehearsal will conversely help you develop consistency and performance habits.

Practice to Explore Text: In the beginning, you should constantly experiment with alternative interpretations and means of delivery, aiming to discover better ways of expressing emotions and revealing subtext. As always, you should be reading the literature aloud to process the language more deeply; this practice will ensure you are first, satisfied with the cutting (it’s on time, makes sense, has the emotional levels you wanted), and second, Am I taking advantage of opportunities for movement? Keep in mind that the more you do this type of practice, adding more  more nonverbal communication to compliment your performance, the longer the performance will become

Practice How You Want to Perform: Remember that how you practice dramatically affects how you will perform. This means that every time you present for the class, you should treat the performance as if it is competition. You create habits and develop muscle memory each time you practice your piece. These “habits” also mean that changing the body position, pops or voices of a character, for example, can be increasingly difficult the more you have practiced it one way. Changes are good though, so keep experimenting with your literature, trying new things with your voice and body to enhance the power of your delivery.

Practice More: Particularly for literature that requires a high degree of technical skill (ie: popping, pantomiming, multiple/challenging voices), students must generously dedicate their time to rehearsal. Although it is rarely a problem, material can become stale if it’s over-performed. Practicing 4-5 days a week, especially leading up to a big tournament, is often a good idea, but take breaks and leave time to decompress and not think about your literature.