Author Topic: Line Notes: How soon is too soon?  (Read 2019 times)

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Line Notes: How soon is too soon?
« on: Sep 28, 2016, 10:54 pm »
Hi All,
I'm working with a new director who is giving us line notes during blocking rehearsals.  (It's a modern comedy.)  We're not supposed to be off book for 17 days.  It's rather unnerving.  Anyone had this experience?  I've never heard of director doing this in my 29 years of acting.
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Re: Line Notes: How soon is too soon?
« Reply #1 on: Sep 29, 2016, 01:51 pm »
I am of the belief that it is never too early to give line notes if it is something that the actor keeps repeating regardless of whether they are still holding a script or not.  I also do not work at theaters that give "off-book" dates, as it is assumed that that is the goal as soon as possible. 

That being said, I worked with a director who was almost more "on book" than stage management and yes often it interrupted the flow of things.  However, their belief was that the text was the "bible" more or less, and they couldn't do their job to shape the show if what was spoken was not actually what was written. 



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Re: Line Notes: How soon is too soon?
« Reply #2 on: Sep 30, 2016, 11:52 am »
I think it also depends on the show. If you're doing a show based on extremely well known text (I've done shows based on Edgar Allan Poe, and Anne Frank's diary, for example) than you really want to make sure all the text is as perfect as it can be, starting from the beginning.
Of course the goal is always to speak the playwrights words, as written. But if an occasional "blue and perfect" instead of "perfect and blue" slips out, it's less of an issue in works a lot of people aren't already familiar with.
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Re: Line Notes: How soon is too soon?
« Reply #3 on: Oct 07, 2016, 10:56 am »
Is he giving line notes during the rehearsal itself (ie, stopping a scene to correct speech) or making notes and giving them after the scene is finished? If the latter, it's probably never a bad idea to correct bad habits from forming. If the former, though, I'd have issues: if the actor is not supposed to be offbook yet, and is still working things out in his or her head, having constant interruptions to correct minor line flubs could be detrimental to getting through a scene and focusing on the acting.

There's also the question of line corrections once you go into tech/performances. If the actors get used to having notes from the director, it may be difficult for them to adjust to getting notes from you once he is no longer there to do so (assuming the director will not be there for the entire run). I prefer to establish that sort of "chain of command" early on to prevent confusion as we go through the process.
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