On the job on the iPad: learning lines

My role in the Empire Theatre Projects’ Company production of Secret Bridesmaids’ Business is a first in one respect. It’s the first on which I’ve gone entirely digital for script markup and lines-learning. I’m using my iPad 1.0. My apps of choice in the process have been Good Reader ($) and Rehearsal 2.0 ($)

It’s going well so far, and my initial anxieties about the efficacy of a digital working script and with missing out on the paper and markers and pencils experience were entirely misplaced. I wrote about the thrilling task of prepping a script a few years back when I was in full analog mode! This post is in the Performance Casebook series of which this is also a part.

The first thing you have to do is get the script on to your iPad. It’s a snap with both apps. With Good Reader it’s the normal sync process with your iPad; with Rehearsal it’s via email (in the version I have). In other words, you send your script as an attachment to your dedicated Rehearsal e-mail address, and it appears in the app.

Once you have your script on the iPad, you get an almost hands-free experience from the get-go. I have mine in its Apple cover – my hand fits neatly between it and the back of the iPad. There are no pens or pencils to drop, and you have a hand and finger free to swipe, or type or annotate and to manage props and make contact with scene-partners. Portability and ease of use and the brightness of the screen on the iPad is a bonus in darker places like coffee shops and rehearsal rooms – yes, there are such things – so I am very happy with my experiment and progress thus far.

I began with Good Reader and switched this week to a lines-learning app Rehearsal because I wanted to use the recording functionality and the emphasis on the scenes I’m in and, of course, with getting off book. Rehearsal does this. Good Reader is a really excellent all-purpose app for accessing and working on docs, and I use it all the time. However, Rehearsal is a niche app that delivers what its name suggests – it’s about getting the text off the page aka lines-learning –  between rehearsal sessions. This is where Rehearsal shines. I’m especially enamoured of being able to record and re-record my and my scene partners’ lines on the fly. The iPad on-board microphone picks up the sounds of movement as well – useful for timing. In playback, the screen scrolls like a teleprompter. If you have an iPad 2.0 you can video record a scene too.

I wrote a review of the Rehearsal app a little over a year ago, so I suggest you check that out if you are interested. The app is also available for the iPhone and is now in Version 2.0. Like all apps, it is available from the iTunes Store. Now that I am actually using it on a daily basis, I am more than happy to endorse the big tick I awarded it last year.