There’s never enough. Particularly when you are trying to put together the best show possible, with actors and tech folks (and a director) that have lives and jobs and kids.
In community theatre, this is no one’s full time gig. No one is getting paid. Heck we are lucky if it only costs us a little money. Because Jehovah knows I’ve spent A LOT before. Three kids, multiple costume changes, etc. Gas and take-out because no one has time to cook? Adds up.
I mean we do have a budget, but it is most assuredly a shoestring budget. And that shoestring is missing the aglets and is frayed and ready to give up and really needs replaced. So instead of “I’d really like this shade of Chartreuse for the wall” you probably get “Don’t we have a couple gallons of green left from that one thing two years ago?”
But I digress because I came here to talk about time.
So the average, according to many sources on the interwebs, is an hour of rehearsal for each page or minute of the show. For Rabbit Hole the standard three night a week schedule gives us 23 rehearsals. Including tech week.
Twenty – three.
It seems like a lot, but for a 120 page script that gives us roughly 35 minutes of rehearsal per page. To get to an hour per page, we would need FOURTY rehearsals.In seven weeks. Well over five rehearsals a week. I don’t want to rehearse five nights a week, let alone ask my actors to.
Don’t get me wrong, we can put up a show at 35 minutes per page. But I can tell you right now it won’t be great. It will be a ‘come together at the last minute and really not until opening night’ kind of show. And while, as an actor and tech person, part of me thrives on the adrenaline and lift you get from those kinds of shows, it is not what I want as a director. I want scenes to be rock solid, I want actors that have been comfortable enough in their lines to really explore character and delivery. I want to achieve that fine line between polished and over-rehearsed. I want the show to be alive and exciting and at the same time just on rails, headed for the ending.
Our patrons deserve as close to professional as we can get. It’s expensive to see a show, particularly so if you have a big family you want to bring. We need to make sure they get a show that provides sufficient value, that will have folks willing to say “I saw a play here and it was amazing, and you should go too”.
So 250+ days before we open, I am shortly going to sit down with my script and plot rehearsal schedule, scene by scene. And then probably throw it all away when I get a cast that has their own schedules, but at least I’ll have an outline of what I want to get to when. Watch out for those extended Sunday rehearsals.
Just in case you want to play along, here’s a link to the show calendar: