Chapter 10

The cybernetics of acting: director and rehearsal

The first contact an actor will have with the space is where the process takes place-in the rehearsal room. In fact, when an actor is working on a part, the rehearsal process will take place wherever he or she may be-in bed, in the bath, on the bus, in the bar-but, formally, it will be in the rehearsal room. Just as an actor's process is personal, so will be the way in which rehearsal is approached. The process will be affected by the nature of the play; the relationships established with fellow actors and the director; and the time available for the work. But, underlying all of this there are some factors common to the nature of rehearsal that affect the acting experience.

The most fundamental factor is probably the 'sharing' of rehearsal. Unlike most other art forms, acting cannot be done alone, and 'working' in the society of fellow actors is what an actor is about. So much time is spent in solitariness-waiting for work, looking for work, competing for work-that the blessed experience of sharing the creative endeavour, even when the play is rubbish, affirms the actor's sense of worth and purpose. At early rehearsals, when fellow actors are yet unknown quantities and somewhat self-protective at exposing their abilities, or lack of, to each other, there is still the shared familiarity of the dingy rehearsal room with its predictable jetsam of props, and tea or coffee provided by the ever-nurturing stage management. This produces a sense of expectation and fulfilment; all know why the others are there and what each has had to fight through in order to be there.

Such an atmosphere lends an immediately positive quality to the necessary sharing of rehearsal. The awareness of fellow actors

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