The French have a word for it. (Hold on, I'm being told they apparently have a word for everything...)
The French for rehearsal is répétition, and anyone who's been involved in theatre knows how true that is: you say the same words and go through the same motions again and again and again. Actors get nervous (and sloppy) if they don't have the chance to go through every scene on a regular basis.
However, those who have been through this special kind of ordeal know that you're not just repeating the same words and actions every time. On the contrary: you are working on bringing those words and actions to life, making small changes every time as you discover more and more about the characters whose lives you are inhabiting: SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATION.
It's almost as if actors are — hear me out — being creative:
One of the great joys of directing a talented cast is watching them leave you behind. This has been the case this week as the cast of Peter & the Starcatcher (Newnan Theatre Company, Mar 1–11) have, every night, added more and more detail to their performances, detail that I never directed them to produce. More focus, more reactions, better timing, tiny little improvements that just blow me away.
(Also, one of the great frustrations of any director is wondering why they didn't learn their lines weeks ago so they could start focusing on these improvements. Actors, feh.)
This cast is probably the best I've ever worked with, top to bottom. They've taken Rick Elice's script and run with it, and you deserve the sadness that will come with missing this show if you decide not to see it.
But now I have to share a sad and embarrassing ABANDONMENT.
I had had this scathingly brilliant idea for the scene change between the drab and dark confines of the two ships of Act 1 to the lush, green island of Act 2. We would conceal the green drops in ship's sails, gray material that would drop away as Peter paddled his way to the island, allowing the green to cascade down in one big woosh, surprising and delighting the audience. Theatre Magic™!
This was the concept:
This was the sad, sad reality as of yesterday:
Is that not just painful? Rather than spend another minute on this ABORTIVE ATTEMPT, I made the executive decision to ABANDON it. Yes, it would have been spectacular, but the show is already spectacular (Mar 1–11, have I mentioned that?) and not having the drops would not materially impact the audience's experience in the least. (Well, not as much as watching these pathetic globs of green plastic get stuck in whatever system we ended up devising to get them to go woosh. That would have materially impacted their experience, for sure.)
Remember, boys and girls, FAILURE IS ALWAYS AN OPTION.
Onward, to the ultimate ABANDONMENT: We open tomorrow night.