This week at NDW we did a lot of scene work. We touched almost every scene in Act 1 – yay! This is great, especially considering that we are off-book for Act 1 this week.
What is off-book you ask? Simple, it means that we are no longer using our “book” or the script for Act 1 – which means every actor must know their lines, music, blocking and choreography. Of course, if some thing hasn’t been learned yet, actors are allowed to have their scripts in hand, but should still know all lines and music by heart.
During the rehearsal process, after actors are off-book, they are allowed to mess up (that’s why we have rehearsals – to practice). In fact, in theater there is a tradition of saying “line” when you forget a line. When you say that magic word, the stage manager will respond with the line, which the actor then repeats and the rehearsal can continue. Of course, once we get to tech week, this all changes. At some point, actors can no longer say “line” and will have to figure out how to get out of jams onstage with help only from fellow actors within the context of the play.
This brings me to Adele. Yes, you read that correctly – Adele. When you do a live performance there is a chance that you will mess up: forget a line, not enter at the right spot, skip a line, or something similar. However, during a performance you must keep going. Never, have I seen a play start over because someone messed up. Adele, for this same reason, did something extremely unprofessional at the Grammy’s the other night. A few years ago, in the middle of performing at the Grammy’s, Christina Aguilera fell onstage. No one stopped the performance to ask if she was okay. She didn’t ask to start over so she could watch her step. Yet, Adele stopped everything, apologized, and started over.
We do not do this in theater. Anyone who does this in the professional world (other than Adele, apparently, and maybe Beyonce) would not have a job in the future. Have you ever heard the phrase; “The show must go on”? This applies to so many things, one of them being messing up onstage during a performance – in front of an audience. At NDW, we want our actors to learn theater the right way, and I fear that anyone who saw Adele’s tribute to George Michael, did not learn how to perform correctly.
So, as you learn your lines, and continue practicing them, understand that you will mess up and be okay. But under no circumstances should you follow Adele’s lead and start over. During rehearsal, one of the directors may decide that we all need to start over, but that is at the discretion of Cindy, Lisa, Chris, and myself. During a performance if you mess up, you do not start over. You continue –as that is the mark of true performer and professional. Our actors may not be in high school yet, but when the curtain goes up on March 31st they are professionals in the audience’s eyes and should act as such. They always have in the past, and I know they will continue to do so in the future.
See you Saturday,