Whoa! The first run-through? Already?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Jeremy Brooks
Now time goes fast when you are enjoying yourself. We all know this. But to get an schedule standby for a first run-through makes you realise how fast time is really running. In the world of the theatre this call tends to bring on gentle hyper-ventilation and semi-moist palms. Yes, our efficient stage manager, sadistic smiling choreographer and on the mark director are prepping themselves for the thrill, the spills, the it-has-to-be-done-sometime folks, and this is it … the first runthrough of Act 1 Cabaret … soon. So what’s the big deal?

Up until now, the script, that talismanic object I spoke about some time ago has served as source, blueprint, and comfort-blanket on the rehearsal room floor. You can hang on to it … remember Linus and his comfort blanket? It’s just like that. However … a run-through almost always carries with it the gentle (or not so gentle) insistence the books be down; this is theatre jargon for no script in hand. In other words (and metaphorically speaking) you get to strip naked and deliver the goods. Theatre folk tend to call this the ‘stumble-through’ or ‘stagger,’ resisting the notion of ‘running’ with all its connotations of speed and achievement. It’s a time of vulnerability and naturally, of terror.

But hang on; it gets worst. This show is a musical. Not only do you lose you best friend (the script), but you get to sing and dance too … . Are you getting some idea of what the first run-through must be like now? Of course, until it happens, there is no sense really of how the show as a whole is doing, nor of how all your efforts up till now are gelling. Up until this point, it’s all been shuffling around, playing, exploring … as one should. Now the real thing … the demands of performance … begin to stare one in the face.

Theatre is no place for sissies!






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