How does one go about having fun in advance of the first rehearsal? First of all you choose a version of the show that has all the bells and whistles. Huge chorus harmonies, children’s chorus, you name it. Then you discover that you can’t actually get hold of the vocal scores for the company in time for the rehearsal as they are actually out of print. Swiftly your very keen Musical Director pulls together lines from the Conductor’s score to create a vocal score for the musical numbers you are planning to cover. This can only be defined as a nasty little time-consuming exercise. Nevertheless he diligently completes it. Only when this is all done do the vocal scores turn up, almost inevitably, in time for the rehearsal. This is a blessing in disguise – causing huge amounts of chaos in trying to determine quickly who should be singing what and when, with only one evening to work through one-quarter of the show. How hard can it be? The answer is: very.
Then you throw into the mix some confusion over the time and date of the first rehearsal so there is a risk that not all your cast will turn up in the right place at the right time. As if this is not enough you are already struggling to remember who has kindly let you know they will be missing from the first or second rehearsals. This is, of course, extremely helpful information and an absolute necessity for planning ahead but still tricky to keep inside one’s head.
When you think that it just couldn’t get any better you remember that the casting hasn’t quite been ironed out and some of the time at this first rehearsal will have to be spent slotting the last few roles into place. This of course also needs some preparation. More lists. More information to try to remember. Or forget. Must phone round some key people and email the cast list in final. Well, almost final.
At the same time you have a guilty recollection that you haven’t actually written out all the staging requirements of the opening numbers. Of course not – some of it will depend on who is cast in which role. Oh what a beautiful circle of chaos. The good news is that the Musical Director is now missing for a few early rehearsals so you have a couple of extra days to prepare. The bad news is that he needs to know who is on stage for each number before teaching them. Oh joy. And then you are also very well aware that the staging and costume teams will start circling you shortly like a shark sensing blood asking for all your requirements for the show. More lists are needed. Now I need a list of all the lists I’m compiling.
The minutes are ticking by until it is time to begin. I will arrive armed with my lists, notebooks and folders. It is all in my head. Now is the time for us to start out on the bumpy road of rehearsals. With some luck it will be fun. Must add that to the list.