Wednesday, March 02, 2016

A Pick-Up Pick-Me-Up

Last night the most of the cast met for a pick-up rehearsal of the show. Two actresses and the director were unable to attend.

If you are familiar with this blog, or with community theatre, you'll know that a pick-up rehearsal, between two weekends of a show, often is seen more as a chance to goof around, as opposed to rehearse the show in earnest.

I've been to a few of these that have ended up as a total waste of time, so much messing around was there. One time a director even called it off right in the middle because of its fruitlessness.

About half of the shows I've been in haven't even bothered with a pick-up at all.

I've even been a few where the director insisted on it being a full fledged "tech week revisted" rehearsal. (Though I've found this is the most difficult position to get everyone to agree to.)

Last night was an interesting hybrid of a pick-up. We ran all three shows, including basic blocking and (about 90%) of the lines properly. A few stupid hats, a lot of silly voices, and a few other small gags made their way into the mix. And I don't mind.

I don't mind because not only did we review (albeit informally) everything we needed to, we all had fun with one another. Fun as people, as actors, as volunteers in the same project. There is enjoyment in performing and doing well, but it was an at times tense final week of rehearsals. It was in some ways a nerve-wracking (though successful) opening weekend, with all the ritual and anxiety that goes along with same. Last night gave us a refreshing chance to be loose again.

That silliness, on top of being halfway done with the run I think gave some of us a better understanding of one another. Maybe not a "cast bonding" moment, as so many people call it, but it did provide a level of camaraderie that hadn't quite been achieved yet-a level that wouldn't have been attained with a full throttle rehearsal, nor with an absolute chaotic manure-show.

Pick-ups are a weird creature anyway. You've done the show, you've proven that despite flaws, you're able to perform the show in front of a crowd. You've had your first days off from the show in a week. Then you come back and "rehearse" again. Sometimes a show really needs it, and sometimes it really doesn't. But in either case to me it feels like hanging out at your high school after you've already passed your final exams. You're technically still a student, but you've essentially done all you can do before graduating. It's like a "lame-duck" rehearsal in many ways.

And of course, this was the last rehearsal for this show, since it's only running two weekends. Never again will this group get together to practice this thing in any fashion. It's performances from now on. We want the final two nights to go  better than the first two, of course, but in a real sense, once you have a pick-up rehearsal, the momentum shifts. It's downhill now, from a time (not a quality) standpoint. With a pick-up rehearsal coming up, there is a small buffer. That buffer gone, we really are coming to the end, even though only half of the performances have happened thus far.

I'm glad we had this chance to goof around on stage as actors in the low-pressure environment that was our pick-up rehearsal.

Next performance: Friday at 8:00PM.


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