Acting Directing Teaching Drama

More on Focus

I wrote about focus last week and got some great advice and feedback through our Facebook page.

What I do before every rehearsal and show is some improv game for about 10min then a quick pep talk on what’s going to happen that day. Works every time. Everyone is ready and focused. And I am working with high school freshman to seniors.
Irene Albors Gonzalez

Gaff tape.
Connie Travis Voight

Friday routine! A series of commercial jingles, show lines from past shows, inside jokes from rehearsals, historical quotes, etc that kids vote on, I put together and we do every Friday! They can’t wait and are then ready to focus!!!
Deb M Elwell

It starts with training my HS actors to focus for classroom assignment performances. They perform every 3-4 weeks. Then I don’t cast the ones who are unable to focus well.

We practice being focused during rehearsal. Being focused and having fun are a perfect combination for creativity. If someone is having trouble being focused in rehearsal, it will be a problem during the show. They need a partner/AD to help them a little.

During the run, I tell them to put away their phones, check their props and costumes and refer to their performance lists and notes. You can’t expect HS actors to suddenly change during the run of a show if they have not practiced this behavior in class and rehearsal.

Only rehearse for two hours, right after school. Only rehearse for 25 days. This method has worked for me for twenty years.

Keep crew members to a bare minimum, none works best. I often have only one or two and they have been the assistant directors who have been there everyday and are in a position of some authority. Many shows don’t need any, except for lights and sound. They should also be required to be at rehearsal daily.

Ushers don’t go backstage except to deliver flowers to the stage manager (an AD), who takes them to the actors.

I give the actors who are not on stage the backstage jobs.

Eliminating distractions is a key factor when it comes to ensuring that the production has a focused cast and crew.
John Hadley

Stop rehearsal and sing a round.
Greg Dennett

Focus …. starts with the same sound as “fear”. Fear is a fantastic motivator – fear of failing, fear of looking like a fool, fear of not doing one’s best, fear of disappointment ….
Vick Ko

I’m with Greg. Singing together is an amazing way to focus. The cast of War Horse in Toronto recently used to sing together before every show. Not as a requirement. Just because they all liked it.
Trish O’Reilly-Brennan

Working together in a playful win-win goal as an entire group from day one of class or rehearsal…connections and commonalities of little known facts. Respect of each other and helping the student’s partner feel good about collaborative short term playful yet guided experiences..working for the success of the ensemble.
Gai Jones

One of my directors had us go out of the rehearsal room before we began formal rehearsal – to “commit” to the rehearsal — and then return, ready to work. Staccato Legato is a wonderful physicalization the cast does in a circle. And Viola Spoilin has wonderful games and exercises for focus.
Cheryldee Huddleston

About the author

Craig Mason