Preview Night Lessons

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I haven’t talked about this much, but it is currently show week for our spring musical Cotton Patch Gospel. Today was preview night (where we preform the entire show for family and faculty only as a dress rehearsal) and with how this week had been going so far in rehearsal, I was really nervous for how it would run.

People didn’t have all of their lines memorized even by yesterday. Then there was the matter of some out of tune songs and some daces where people just bumped into each other and scene changes that took way too long. You can imagine that our first full run through on Saturday took a lot of time. Then monday off book was clearly a struggle. Tuesday was looking better for most, but still not performance level. Then tonight somehow we pulled things together. (I mean we usually do, but this time was more nerve racking than normally because we have a lot of new theater folks in this show.)

It didn’t help that we had to move everything in side rather than outside like it was suppose to be, so we had to change some of the blocking earlier this week and lights didn’t get figured out until today.

With all of this, we put on a pretty decent preview night show. There were some obvious points that needed work, and one big moment when we had to stop because we were missing our light to do the puppet show part, but overall it ran pretty well respective to other run throughs especially.

Even the big stop wasn’t too bad because at least it happened today. That’s why we have a preview night– so we can get the big problems fixed before the real show.

This brings up the importance of prototyping quickly, to test and fail often quickly, to get a better product quicker. During a bi-weekly meeting I was having with my mentors today, we talked about how we are noticing a need for our ID cohort to start getting more comfortable with rougher prototypes because that way we can get feedback sooner and thus move forward sooner.

A show is never great the first time you run through it, but after a few it gets better each time. So under this logic, the more times you run the play before show day, the better it will be on show day.

Seems to me like this logic can be applied to all parts of life: run through it all no matter how bad it may be at first, because that is how you make it better for show day.

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