What is rehearsed reading?

  • Yohanna Farrell

    Actor

    I have recently come across a few jobs stating this and i don`t think i`ve ever heard of it. I`m guessing it`s where you read through a script so that the writer/ director knows it flows well with the characters?

    Sorry if i`m sounding really dum lol, would just like to know what`s involved. x

    • 2nd Jun 2009
    • 12126
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  • Clare Cameron

    Actor

    Hi Yohanna

    A rehearsed reading is as it sounds but they can vary considerably according to the project; some of them are to garner interest from producers or those who may be able to help with development funding and/or staging. These generally involve a bit more rehearsal and I've performed them in places including the Oval House, Blue Elephant and Trafalgar Studios; some have involved enough staging that it was more of a performance than a reading, whilst others have been more static - it depends on the director. Some readings are to focus on the state and/or development of the script; for example I've done readings that are rehearsed for just 2hours and are written by work students as part of their course. Some are done as a promotional tool to raise awareness of a forthcoming production. No matter what the purpose they are always done script in hand and you are never expected to learn the lines.

    Hope this helps

    CC x

    • 1st Jun 2009
    • 1
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Yes, I think that reply has summed the whole thing up. As has been said, rehearsed readings *do* differ in aspects such as the purpose, the amount of rehearsal time allowed etc. The key thing is simply that that the description means that you are intended to perform a 'reading' of the play (even sometimes screenplay) with script in hand. You don't learn the lines and get 'off book', generally because a)there is not enough time and rehearsal to achieve a complete delivery b) there is a wish on the writer's/director's etc. part to discover what the cast 'make of' the script without having rehearsed it fully and c) a 'rehearsed reading' is generally not performed in order to impress an audience - it is more often used to gauge intelligent opinions and reactions from an invited group of observers who will give feedback on whether the script works, whether the project is worth investing in etc. etc.

    For this reason, most readings are not done with accompanying blocking - many simply ask that the cast sit in chairs and deliver their lines at the appropriate points - and they are almost never done in costume, with props etc. They literally behave much as a 'first reading' of the play or script often does on the first day of rehearsal, when the cast are brought together in order to get to know the feel of the script better - the difference is that this reading is being performed in front of an invited audience.

    Many companies will pay something towards the cost of your involvement, and sometimes, rehearsed readings are a brilliant way of exploring the possibilities of new scripts and making solid contacts in the industry. However, it should be pointed out that, just because you are involved in an initial reading, there is no guarantee you will be later cast in the part should the show/film go on to full development. This is often simply because people can be cast satisfactorily in a reading even if they don't quite look like the part as written - sometimes, the issue of 'looking the part' goes on to limit the casting when the actual production goes into development.

    With that said, if you impress enough on a rehearsed reading, there is also a strong possibility that you may be used again in a full version of the project/another project from the same company. As rehearsed readings are generally very good for stretching your acting muscles, whilst at the same time relatively undemanding in terms of time commitment, they are well worth being involved with if you can get the work.

    • 1st Jun 2009
    • 2
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    I shouldn't confuse things, of course (!)...As Clare said, different companies interpret 'rehearsed readings' in different ways. Some will 'block' moves, entrances, exits etc. whilst allowing you to hold onto the script, and others will literally ask that you simply read in front of the audience. However, this will not be 'cold' reading...i.e. you and the cast will not turn up on the night, never having met each other or seen the script, be given it that night, and asked to perform it straight off...you will rehearse first. But how much you rehearse will vary. You may get several rehearsals which establish direction, which you then perform, or you may rehearse by reading the script through a number of times in order that you get used to it, so that when you present it, you are fluent - but you will remain seated and reading in front of the audience.

    • 1st Jun 2009
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  • Nadia Ostacchini

    Actor

    Yes. Google North London Actors group, Actors Writers London, Player Playwrights - go along. They're good to do to keep your hand in in-between jobs.

    • 2nd Jun 2009
    • 4
  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    The link for the North London Actors Group seems to be broken - I can't get to it on Safari. Anyone else having problems?

    Cheers

    T

    • 2nd Jun 2009
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  • Nadia Ostacchini

    Actor

    Hi, it's ok my end:

    www.northlondonactors.co.uk/

    Would be great to meet some of you there!

    nadia

    • 2nd Jun 2009
    • 6
  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    Weird - this link works for me - the one through Google didn't.

    I'm certainly going to go along at some point and it's just up the road from me.

    • 2nd Jun 2009
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