Asked out of ignorance, what is it like, rehearsing The Crucible?

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I really want someone who has a clue to write a fanfic, honestly.

I remember what rehearsals for musicals were like, in high school, but I don’t know anything beyond that. I assume various stages of warmups, perhaps some team-building exercises, read-throughs of various kinds, brainstorming, discussing what’s happening, costume fittings, tete a tetes where the characters’ relationships are discussed and worked out and practiced between the actors involved, running lines from different perspectives, technical rehearsals, blocking, lighting comparisons … and I assume there’s a hierarchy of progression from the simplest kind of rehearsal to the more complicated. Some time to be alone and read and research the role.

Is there some kind of schedule? With a month of rehearsals, is this an eight hour day, a ten hour day, a twelve hour day for the principals? Do they have Sundays off? Do they go for drinks together in the evening?

More towards fun, more towards exhausting?


~ by Servetus on May 27, 2014.

10 Responses to “Asked out of ignorance, what is it like, rehearsing The Crucible?”

  1. Interestingly enough, I have been part not only of theatre pre-production in general, but specifically a production of The Crucible. But every director has their own particular ways and habits, so it’s hard to speculate about any production you’re not actually inside of.

    What I can tell you, from my experience with this play, is that it was very emotionally draining for the actors and stressful for the director, which translated to a harried and clipped crew. On the night of the final dress rehearsal, there was a strange manic headlong rushing toward perceived doom throughout, and it wasn’t because anyone was ill-prepared.


    • well, the end of the play is kind of ominous. doomed, you might say. Thanks for these insights. I hope this isn’t one of those plays that drives Armitage crazy — if he’s too moody already this isn’t likely to help.


      • It could go any number of ways for him. He could as easily draw vitality from the group creation of live art.

        Opening night didn’t have that feeling of impending doom, interestingly. And by closing night the cast was relaxed enough to do a spot of inside-joke improv (that the director was FURIOUS over, but couldn’t stop them from doing) in the form of listing off real people’s names during the confession. Including, I am proud to say, “I saw Goody Bethancourt with the Devil!”


        • if it goes well, has to be exhilarating to be doing this, in that place. Can’t discount that, no matter how exhausting the work is.

          Love the idea of joking about it!


          • Yeah, after the intensely draining experience of the whole thing, it’s no surprise they needed to inject a little levity into the final performance. I’m with Crystal Chandlyre — I wasn’t in it, I only worked it (albeit a job with a great deal of responsibility and therefore stress) and I was an emotional wreck when it was over. The cast and crew cut loose at the closing night party like I’ve never seen before or since.

            There’s a specific kind of fierce satisfaction that comes of taking on and then emerging victorious on the other side of a very emotional piece of work. I think it’s fair to say that there is evidence to suggest Richard Armitage has a taste for it.


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  4. Long ago and far away, I played Abigail for two nights in an amateur production. We had two weeks of rehearsals. It was draining, exhausting, punishing, but it clicked, electrifying us all. When the curtain came down, we were so up that we went out and devoured much pizza and wine. I can’t imagine what it must be like to do a whole run with intense pros.


  5. I would say that they started with reading rehearsals with the whole cast and staff in attendance. They usually take about 1-2 days, depending on how long the text is. In our theatre the rehearsals are customarily divided in 2 times 4 hours per day (10.00 – 14.00 and 18.00 – 22.00) when the actors do not have to be on stage for a performance in the evening. Alternatively there is only a morning rehearsal, as there have to be an intermission for the actors of at least 4 hours between a rehearsal and an actual performance. Rehearsals can also be scheduled during the day with short intermissions. But still they should not last longer than 6- 8 hours. The actors need time to learn their text (esp. possible text modifications) and to let all the discussions, impressions and rehearsed scenes sink in.
    If a director has a (more or less) clear idea about what the final play should look like (which is somehow desirable but not always the case and can make the process quite often a bit less stressful for all the participants). he/she would’ve already decided with his/her assistent(s) about a detailed schedule for each and every actor for a week in advance. They should have Sundays off!!
    (I’m talking of Germany here with it’s special kind of theatre tradition with a really large number of municipal theatres or state theatres.)
    Above all it is a huge cast (26 actors!!) in „The Crucible“ on a relatively small round stage and I would assume this is one of the challenges that this production faces, to get them all „choreographed“ on and off stage without everybody being in a constant running and moving which can be very distracting and confusing for the audience sitting so close around.
    BTW as you all probably know, other than in film productions, in theatre the scenes are rehearsed in „chronological“ order.
    Measuring the actors is one of the first things they have to get done, usually before they start with the rehearsals. The original costumes are normally ready for the first proper stage rehearsals, about 2 weeks before the „premiere“. It seems they have less than a week to rehearse on the original stage as the current production runs till June 15th. In this relatively short time until June 21st they have to get ready with most of/all the technical and lightning setups and to get the actors at the right place where the spotlight is…. 😉
    Well, this are my ideas about this…. Maybe it’s totally different at the Old Vic….


  6. […] And a second answer, from Linda60: […]


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