12 Steps of a Theatrical Production
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12 Steps of a Theatrical Production

From the Actor's Perspective

12 Steps of a Theatrical Production

It's audition season for summer shows, and surely, if you're a theatrical performer in any sense, you're dusting off your audition material book, dry-cleaning that perfect outfit, and getting new headshots taken, if you're lucky. Whether you're a Laurey hopeful or an aspiring junior Javert, there is a part out there calling your name and a spotlight warming up to give your skin that Hollywood glow. You can see the pride in your family’s eyes, the roses they’ll toss at your feet.

The thing most theatre-goers don’t recognize is the depth of the process that it takes to get you to that opening night. It’s the best feeling in the world to perform at your best with the people you love, but before you get the recognition, you have to put in the hours. The more you prepare yourself for the story arc behind the story arc, the more you can relax and enjoy the ride.

There is an emotional roller coaster ahead. To help you prepare, I've created a list to help you run through what you can expect in the coming months.

1. Auditions

You somehow manage to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get through those terrifying 2 minutes. Then, the waiting begins.

500 years later… You got a callback! Go, you. Work those cold reads!

Then, you wait some more until…

2. The Cast List Goes Up

There's your name! You don't care what role it is, you're just over-the-moon to get to use your amazing dramatic abilities.

You celebrate (humbly, of course) and when someone tries to guilt trip you about getting cast instead of them, you just tell them in a Sirius Black tone:

…and carry on celebrating.

3. Beginning of Rehearsals

The first day of rehearsal finally arrives, and you find that it is much like the first day of school. You know, when you transferred to that new school across town where everyone has a better lunch box than you but you end up finding your Duckie anyway? You have met a few people before, but as the #noob you feel like you've got a lot of catching up to do. Where you sit, how you rate in the hierarchy of answering questions and impressing your director all hinge on this day.

4. Middle of Rehearsal period

You're starting to get to know the other people in the cast, and most things are well and good; but, right about this time you (and usually everyone else) will hit a wall of inspiration. You begin to feel the boundaries of blocking pressing in upon your creativity and style. The first run through feels incredibly disjointed and clunky… How will this show ever be good?

But, then you have the break-through-light-bulb moment with your scene, the second run through goes smoothly and all is great with the world.

5. End of Rehearsal period

The show starts to gel and your company suddenly becomes amazingly in sync. All of your hard work is paying off!

6. Tech

You're finally in the theatre! You've got some amazing theatre technicians and designers all there to help make the show beautiful. Depending on how they work, tech can either be a great time, or a drudgery; perhaps most usually a healthy combination of both.

HOLD, please!

7. More Tech

Got through that first day feeling pretty peachy, didn't ya? Well, you're not done yet. Chances are the crew is even more tired than you (all you silly actors have to do is stand there anyways), so suck it up--you're almost there!

8. Opening

All of a sudden, it's opening night.

What?! Actual people will be watching you? The energy is always electric on opening, and you finally get the chance to share what has usurped your life for the past couple months with friends and family.

9. Second show

After the wild experience of opening night, it's easy to get relatively complacent about the next few shows. You did it once, you've got this, right?

Wrong, keep that focus or you'll be missing a cue! You have to think that every show is a fresh experience for your audience. Remember this is what you love to do!

10. Final show

How did you get here? Wasn't it just that awkward first day of rehearsal? You realize how much you're going to miss your cast, crew, director, and dingy backstage space.

11. Strike

All of it is over way too fast, and suddenly strange people are tearing apart the world you've lived in for so long. Strike is a strange ritualistic pain-in-the-bahookie but you end up bonding as you weep over shredded plywood.

12. Cast Party

After the most emotional day in your recent past, its time to let loose and enjoy being together in this formation one last time. Congratulations!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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