Each year for my drama group the RLT Players (Road Less Traveled Players), I institute mega-practices. A mega-practice is simply an extra-long, nitty-gritty practice focused on one particular short sketch for a show. Our new show coming up in December has 10 original sketches we are working on. Therefore, we will have 10 different mega practices to focus particularly on one of those. As I was organizing my binders, getting ready for our newest mega practice, I came across my mega practice notes from last year. Here’s what they looked like.
What’s all included in those notes?
Title of Sketch (this photo was for “A Pinch of Fate” and “More Heart, Less Attack.”
Stage layout – you’ll see the triangular stage that we employ with RLT.
Running Time – I keep a list of running times, so we see if we are improving with firming up the sketch. Nothing is worse than a 6 minute piece which takes 8 minutes.
Performance notes – words like “enunciate,” “slow-down,” etc… – where the blocking went wrong.
We’ll work each piece for about 2 hours, and if we have done well, by the end of that time we will have succeeded in solidifying the piece and we will at that point be ready to perform it.
As you can imagine, 10 mega practices take a lot of time. That’s why we start them in September for a December show. The actors are required to walk into a mega-practice with their lines for that sketch completely memorized.
This same procedure could be done with a full-length play as well – having a mega practice per scene, if you will.
This is a procedure I have found to work very well. Chunk the pieces, get one done, maintain it overtime, and by show date, you’ll be ready to role.