The Rehearsal Process
Most public performances are ultimately the result of some sort of rehearsal process. A detailed description of the progression of Zac the Hero from script to finished product would be a lengthy read, considering that the rehearsal process has spanned approximately three months. So, instead here is a very basic outline of a typical day in the last month of rehearsal.
A rehearsal is set out much like a lesson in a classroom. There is a certain amount of work to be done within a certain period of time. The director prioritises the time and workload and decides what needs to be done when. For Zac the Hero, the rehearsal process started on 13 March. In a rehearsal room at USQ, the first year actors, stage managers and theatre study students met with Scott Alderdice to start the process of assigning parts and rehearsing the play. In the first half of this semester (pre-Easter), rehearsals ran from 2pm-6pm, Monday to Friday. However, as the time to perform for audiences draws closer, rehearsals increase to 2pm-8pm, Monday to Friday. Also, weekend rehearsals are introduced where needed, ie if the weekday rehearsals do not cover the workload.
Theatre is by nature, a collaborative exercise, but the rehearsal process for Zac the Hero has been especially so. Even though there is a cast of 44, all cast members are involved for the entire duration of the day's rehearsal. This occurs because the rehearsal is divided into separate working groups. Whilst a particular section of the script (very early on in the rehearsal process the script will have been divided into a number of segments) is worked on by the relevant actors and the director, the cast members not needed for that section will split up and work on either lighting and sound, costuming, or constructing/designing the set in the workshop. This distribution of labour will continue for approximately an hour and then the next script segment will be addressed and the individual working groups will re-shuffle accordingly. In this way, all cast members will have some input on all areas of the production, not just the performance side. Everything from where they think particular sound effects would work best throughout the show, to what backdrop they believe would contribute well to the action occurring on stage. Even the script is not static and sections have been changed and re-written throughout the rehearsal process.
Rehearsals finished on 28 April, in time for moving the set, the costumes and the performers into the Arts Theatre (a process we call 'bump in') to rehearse for the first show on 15 May.
For an extensive list of general theatre warm-ups, games and exercises that the actors might have used in rehearsals to prepare their voices and their bodies for the show, visit http://www.humanpingpongball.com/improv_games.html