This is a what sucks and what rocks entry. So good news and bad news
I have many negative mantras that screw up my day and make it hard to sleep at night. I wrote, directed and performed in my first solo play in 1992. That show’s last week of rehearsal and several since then (including my latest show I did as just middle school director) my negative mantra was, “I’m never gonna pull this off by opening night.”
My short experience with Title 1 theatre programs in junior and senior high is markedly different. Skipping/missing rehearsal is chronic. CHRONIC!!! Rarely do I have all actors present at any rehearsal.
My last student show was Don Zolidas’ 10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse. A fun, funny, clever, simple, producer’s/director’s wet dream of a one-act play.
There are a minimum of 8 players needed for the show to be performed. I had 8 students either flake out, get removed from school or move away throughout the rehearsal process. The last replacements were made 5 days before opening night. (They were two Zombies who—SPOILER ALERT—were dead on! Thank you!)
The final week of rehearsal I had a principal actress have to be evaluated for and undergo a day surgery procedure. She missed opening week’s Tuesday rehearsal and was at the hospital having the procedure between 3:30 and 6:00. Curtain was 6:30, so she missed our preshow run through.
Somehow, my awesome theatre nerd kids pulled it off and we had a kick ass show. As for our just-operated-on student, she nailed it but was apparently unaware she was bleeding during the performance.
What rocks about this is several theatre miracles were pulled off that Friday.
What sucks is the nature of commitment on the part of parents and students. Our culture seems to have lost the “rule” to honor commitments. This is sad because I want the kids to have an experience of everyone showing up for every rehearsal, being off-book two or three weeks early and seeing the kind of quality and precision we can produce if we practice and polish the show instead of pull off the first run through on opening night.
Old participation rules seem to remain in the area of sports. I would love for my parents and kids respect rehearsal and the show like families of athletes respect practice and the game.
Oh and I was very happy my negative mantra about being ready for opening night was wrong.