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Rehearsal Report: Clarify, clarify, clarify

Director Zach Kaufer focuses on helping his actors clarify their objectives. logo

Time to focus.

It's about two hours until tonight's rehearsal. We've blocked the whole show and we've run through scenes multiple times. At this point in rehearsal, it's pretty terrifying to think about walking into the room and having to push things forward when you've been watching it since the beginning and can't really see the problems.

I've been so entrenched in the process that it's hard to step back and begin to analyze the scene in terms of what the actors are now bringing to the table instead of blocking it from scratch. They're working within the skeleton that we've set up and now it's my responsibility to watch what they're bringing to it and refine it into something incredible. I was thinking about this issue this morning while I was writing up the rehearsal schedule for the rest of the week, trying to figure out how I was going to run rehearsals. I had taken notes during our stumble-through on Saturday so I have a few thoughts on each scene that we can work through, but that's not enough. However, I had a first-hand experience with Jack Donaghy (of 30 Rock) "Shower Principle" this morning when I realized, in the shower, that the key point to the rest of rehearsals would be to focus on objective work. Of course! In directing class, Stephanie Shroyer is always talking about the resistance coming from objectives and physical line of the objective. Yesterday, she brought up the idea that every move away from something is a move towards something else. The negative action of "to get her to shut up" is achieved at the actress' next period. She will stop talking. Conversely, the positive action of "to achieve peace" will not be fulfilled when the actress, who has just stopped talking, continues to fix her eyes on your soul. Tonight is the time to explore that. The next few rehearsals, before we start doing runs and final fixes, is for precisely this kind of work. The actors and I have the chance to clarify their objectives and make sure that the physical and emotional lines that we've set out in blocking are in accordance with their objectives. If it's not, we have time now to fix it and reconsider anything we need to. Suddenly, I'm able to relax. Ready for work!


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