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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Dress Rehearsal and Performance (25 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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magicalaurie
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How many do a dress rehearsal these days? It's a very important and helpful part of the process and journey to performance. Videos welcome of either and/or. Smile

I'd like to start with an illustration from Elvis Presley's Aloha Concert, "final performance" of which was broadcast live worldwide in 1973. He filmed a dress rehearsal concert which is also known as the Alternate Aloha Concert. See the step up from the dress rehearsal to the live broadcast. That step up (raising stakes) was something I was keenly aware of when we went from dress rehearsal to performance when I studied Theatre Arts in College. I think Dress Rehearsal is something that many performers might skip these days, and it shows. Here's Elvis:



Ray Pierce
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It's a very different process doing a "dress rehearsal" for a TV show as this is typically shot as a back up in case anything in the main show doesn't come out right. SNL does this as well. On the other hand, me taking the time to do a full dress rehearsal of a show I've done for 20 years or longer might be a little less than vital. As an example, when I do an "It's Magic" Show for Milt Larsen, each act typically gets about 30 minutes to set all the cues and logistics for their act. It is a painstaking process to make sure the crew is all connected for any specific cues.

On the other hand, when I'm doing a live book show with all new cast members, the dress is vital as we need to confirm there are no costuming issues or changes that need work. It is always better to find out then and adjust rather than at a live performance.

I'm currently on the road with a large touring show. We're in a new venue each day. We will typically mark the opening and closing numbers just to make sure the entrances and exits are all safe and everyone has a clear traffic pattern as both numbers are very involved. That's all. Nothing else is necessary.

On the other hand, if you're creating a new act, then running the act over and over in full costume is probably a wonderful idea.

As always, there are reasons behind every choice made in theater.
Ray Pierce
<BR>www.HollywoodAerialArts.com
magicalaurie
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When I said that I think many performers might "skip" dress rehearsal these days, I meant skip. As in never do one, in full, or otherwise. The reason I think that would happen would be mainly lack of awareness of professional rehearsal process and the benefits therein. Take a look at which forum is at the very bottom of the Magic Café open forums, in the Odds and Ends category.

Yes, Elvis' dress rehearsal concert for Aloha was filmed as a precaution (thus we are able to view a recorded Elvis Presley full dress rehearsal), but it WAS a dress rehearsal, with no admission charged to the audience, and we can see the results of fine tuning between the dress and the live broadcast performances. One of the more obvious being Elvis decided to get a haircut after viewing the dress tape.



tommy
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If a dress rehearsal means the final rehearsal of a live show, in which everything is done as it would be in a real performance, then I do that. I try and follow Nevil Maskelyne and David Devant advice in Our Magic which I assume everybody here as read.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Dannydoyle
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Ray nails it. The idea of doing full dress rehearsals for shows artists have done forever are not necessary for all.

Spiking the stage, blocking and such ARE essential elements. Full run through not as much.

First of all the HUGE thing you have left out is the cost. Full dress rehearsal is an expensive endeavor. No two ways about it because you are paying EVERYONE, and depending upon which state you propose to do such a thing in it can be quite expensive. Cost of the space is a big deal and if you have union light/ sound guys it REALLY adds up fast.

When I was a cop we had everyone from Neil Diamond to the Rolling Stones and every major band in between. Roadies tuned the guitars, set drums and microphones. They did quick sound checks, looked for spike marks and that was about it. I got paid to watch it.

Madonna was the only one to actively participate in such things and did so for four hours.

It is not always vital even in the upper levels of performance art. It is situational for sure.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
magicalaurie
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Quote:
On Feb 23, 2020, Dannydoyle wrote:
Ray nails it. The idea of doing full dress rehearsals for shows artists have done forever are not necessary for all.


I've indicated that's not what I was referring to. And the video illustrations in the OP support that, as Elvis obviously wasn't doing the Aloha Special the entire 23 years of his career.
Dannydoyle
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I guess the question I have is what experience you have touring a magic show? I do not ask divisively . Not at all. Please do not misinterpret.

Mind you I say this all when tomorrow I am going to do full tech rehearsals in an off Broadway production of a show I have been doing for 30 years. So I DO see the value of doing things like this. I am not certain if you mean dress rehearsal of the "new show" or need to do it at every venue?

I ask that question because EVERY venue can be drastically different, which is why I ask about your touring a magic show experience.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
magicalaurie
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Thank you, Danny.

I participated in traveling theatre productions in high school. Each Spring we'd take a show to the Sears Ontario Drama Festival competition.

So I understand variations in venues, loading in and out, spiking, tech, and the time limitations allotted each group. Not only that, but in competition, set up and breakdown were timed, as was the show- all under penalty of disqualification if overtime. One year we won and brought the show to a further venue and next level of competition.

My twin sister and I were both on the crew. Our tech director teacher, Stuart Morrison, had a penchant for testing us as we consistently had the largest, most elaborate sets in competition. We were always in time in set up and breakdown.

He also got us paid work with the town's Concert Series, during which we would help visiting acts load in, set up lights for the venue, and sometimes run lights for the acts, too. We also helped any touring theatre companies who visited our school load in and out, focus lights, etc. Tracey and I each received a "Special Behind-the-scenes Contribution" award for our work in drama at the high school level.

I directed theatre in College Theatre Arts program and I was a peer tutor for guitar and music theory in a later College Performing Arts program.

In terms of magic, I competed at the World Magic Seminar's last adult Close-Up Challenge in Vegas at the Orleans in 2010 and have performed locally at various venues.

I have performed in multiple venues musically over the last few years, as well.

So, I understand the points you and Ray have made and am in agreement.

So to answer your question, my focus is on new acts. If you can get a full dress at a new venue, bonus, but I understand applying economy there.
Dannydoyle
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Also just so it does get said there are some giants in performance who flat out disagree with what you say here. For example Jackie Gleason felt VEHEMENTLY that the rehearsal process took AWAY from his art. Many are like that. I am not saying he is right, and I think he is an exception to the rule, but it is a counter point.

Also something interesting to keep in mind is that while we learn our craft from each other and in practice and rehearsal, (There is a huge difference.) we learn our art from our audience.

So to be clear though you have extensive armature background in performance touring you have never done it professionally? Again I ask only because of the economic concerns that are not present. Yes you are disqualified if you go over time, but you are not paying a union contractor overtime if you go over so the difference is HUGE.

Just so it is said I have never met a professional who has not dress rehearsed a new act. I am not sure who you mean, you must have some examples in mind, but every professional I know spends time doing this when getting a new act ready. Weeks are spent on this stuff in Branson every season. Heck most who add a new effect will do this. I am not sure who these "many performers" you have in mind are?
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Ray Pierce
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There was an old adage that showed the difference in amateur and professional theater. It was always said that amateurs rehearsed a show for a year and ran it for a week. The professionals rehearsed for a week and ran it for a year. Again, it depends on the experience and familiarity with the product. Unless there is a new piece or costume that needs special attention, we just mark the ins & outs of each scene and get back to show prep. Keep in mind, our usual schedule is to hit the stage around 10:30 am, load in 3 semi's of lighting, scenic and FX; hang, rig and reprogram the show to fit each space, then we're lucky if we can get the cast on stage around 4:30 for a quick walk through of the opening and closing, then back to make up and hair, Meet & Greet at 6 - 7 PM, show at 8, down at 10:15 and strike. Depending on a number of factors, the out can be between midnight and 3 AM. Adding a full dress rehearsal would never be possible unless we added another day to each date. Then again, we're on the road about 10 months out of the year with a European tour, North America, South America, then Australia/NZ & Asia. We do spend about a week or two in rehearsal before each tour and longer when we're start a new season as the scenic and numbers are all new. If we only did one show a year, I'm guessing it would take a lot more dedicated rehearsal. As always, every situation is different.
Ray Pierce
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tommy
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"Our Magic
The Art in Magic -- The Theory of Magic
by Nevil Maskelyne
CHAPTER X
REHEARSAL

A MAGICAL effect of whatever kind, and by whomsoever presented, can be made a
public success only by unremitting care and labor. Systematic attention to details and
refinement of procedure are required. And such attention and refinement can only be
provided by means of adequate rehearsal. The rule suggested by these considerations
would be too obvious to require statement, were it not so obvious that it is in danger of
being overlooked. It is this:

(24) Never present in public any performance, which has not been most perfectly
rehearsed-first in detail, and finally as a whole."

Nobody, of course, is suggesting that one must do a full dress rehearsal before every performance of the same act.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On Feb 24, 2020, Ray Pierce wrote:
There was an old adage that showed the difference in amateur and professional theater. It was always said that amateurs rehearsed a show for a year and ran it for a week. The professionals rehearsed for a week and ran it for a year. Again, it depends on the experience and familiarity with the product. Unless there is a new piece or costume that needs special attention, we just mark the ins & outs of each scene and get back to show prep. Keep in mind, our usual schedule is to hit the stage around 10:30 am, load in 3 semi's of lighting, scenic and FX; hang, rig and reprogram the show to fit each space, then we're lucky if we can get the cast on stage around 4:30 for a quick walk through of the opening and closing, then back to make up and hair, Meet & Greet at 6 - 7 PM, show at 8, down at 10:15 and strike. Depending on a number of factors, the out can be between midnight and 3 AM. Adding a full dress rehearsal would never be possible unless we added another day to each date. Then again, we're on the road about 10 months out of the year with a European tour, North America, South America, then Australia/NZ & Asia. We do spend about a week or two in rehearsal before each tour and longer when we're start a new season as the scenic and numbers are all new. If we only did one show a year, I'm guessing it would take a lot more dedicated rehearsal. As always, every situation is different.


This rubs up against the idea that "an amateur changes the tricks while a professional changes the audiences".

These are the reasons I was asking about her personal experience. I am not being divisive as I mentioned, but trying to gain a point of view. The one thing these discussions often lack is a point of view from the OP or anyone posting in them. Everyone has a point of view, and that is absolutely as valid as the next person's point of view. It is informed by our experience. All the experience the OP has is amateur. Nothing wrong with this, but it does put into focus the ideas put forth.

I did high school projects and then professional projects. I watched the amateur groups. It is a very different world.

Thanks Laurie!
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
magicalaurie
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Quote:
On Feb 24, Dannydoyle wrote: All the experience the OP has is amateur.



This is not true, Danny. I don't understand why you have a need to diminish me when I've said I'm in agreement with you.

Thank you for hearing me, tommy.
Dannydoyle
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OK now we get all offended.

Sorry. Did NOT diminish you AT ALL. Your experience is different. Just different. This IN NO WAY diminishes you! Not in any shape form or fashion. It simply points out VERY TRUE DIFFERENCES.

And again I would like to know what "many performers might skip these days, and it shows" means exactly and to whom it might apply? See in reality you STARTED THIS THREAD by diminishing others Laurie. Diminishing others who do work you do not do! The whole premise here is you diminishing other performers. Sorry but it is the way it is no matter how you will try to spin it. I pointed out that there is a HUGE difference in when you have to tour a show and the economics of such things, Ray pointed out similar concerns. Now you feel offended because you mistakenly believe I diminished you?

So again I ask what experience you have touring a magic show? It seems as if you listed quite little. The huge portion of what was listed was not professional work, and the professional work seemed to be more music than anything. As a matter of fact much of what you list is high school level work. You have performed in "multiple venues". Well that is not a "tour" is it? I perform in multiple venues in a week.

It is NOT diminishing you to simply point out that there are different concerns at play once one has to finance and perform a tour as opposed to community theater. It is not diminishing to simply point out that your experience might lean more towards community theater than to professional touring. Why is that diminishing you in any way Laurie? I didn't say "shut up you don't know anything". Not anything close to that. Helping touring shows load in and out is not touring. It is helping a tour load in and out. I am sorry if this somehow offends you and you feel diminished because of it but nothing I said "diminished" you in the least. It is simply the truth. If Copperfield said to me that he knew more about touring a professional magic show and the concerns than I do would that be him diminishing me?

And again please direct me to those of whom you speak who you believe do not do rehearsals. I have never once ran into ANYONE in professional performance who does such a thing.

I'm sorry if you somehow are offended by this. I really didn't mean it. I don't think simply finding out someones experience and then using that in the discussion is offensive. Offended is your choice, not my words. In this case DEFINITELY not my words. I invite you to make another choice for I meant not to offend you, or anyone. You choose to take one sentence and cling to it to be offended. Again that is your choice. But I think it is not a great choice.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
TomBoleware
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Magicalaurie,

Certainly those who perform the same show every night will not rehearse before each show. But that’s not the purpose of your original post, and I agree there are many in the magic world that don’t like Dress Rehearsal and had rather skip it thinking they have practiced enough. But Dress Rehearsal is not the same as practice, and it’s not for the performer alone. No matter how great the performer is, success often depends on all those behind the curtain.

I could name a lot of situations where a full Dress Rehearsal would be needed. But One that comes to mind first is the group magic club shows that many perform in the local theaters. There you have a mix of part-timers and full timers that have never worked together.

Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

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Dannydoyle
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Tom who exactly in the magic community in a professional setting has skipped full dress rehearsals thinking they have practiced enough? Who? You guys keep throwing out these meaningless platitudes about how "many" do this or that. It means NOTHING unless you can say who it was, what went wrong BECAUSE they didn't do full dress rehearsals and how it would have been BETTER if they had.

Success does not "often" depend upon those behind the curtain, it ALWAYS depends upon them. Professionals KNOW THIS.

So give examples of touring shows that have skipped this. Not shows at local magic clubs or who rent theaters for one night or what not. Tell me please who these "many in the magic world that don’t like Dress Rehearsal and had rather skip it thinking they have practiced enough." Tell us how it would have been different if they HAD done the dress rehearsals.

Since there are "many" as you two seem to keep insisting, one example should be pretty easy to provide.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
TomBoleware
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Danny, who said this was limited to touring shows? And what makes you think you would know everyone that has skipped a rehearsal?
Do you really think you would know every working professional magician?

But to answer your question, Bobby Knight, John Sullivan, Toxie Evans. Or do only those you personally know count?


Tom
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Dannydoyle
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What happened as a RESULT of skipping the dress rehearsal that could have been fixed with the rehearsal?

Point being Tom not to just pontificate that they are "necessary", but rather to show WHY they are necessary and what can and can not be fixed WHEN they are done. Is that too much to ask? Trying to move the discussion forward from meaningless platitudes to actual thought? Sorry.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
tommy
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There is a difference between practising and rehearsing and performing, which essentially depends on who is or who is not there.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
magicalaurie
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This thread isn't just for professionals. I do think, though, and this is implied in my OP, that there are a lot of performers who are getting paid to do a show, who have no background in professional rehearsal process, who, because they get paid, think they are doing a professional show. I think there's much more to a professional show than getting paid for it.

There are a variety of learning resources.

I apologize for any dismissiveness or diminishing of anyone with my tone.

I'd like the conversation to be inclusive. Scale of the show, included. Jackie Gleason, included.

As mentioned in the OP, we can see the fine tuning that Elvis made. From what I've read, there were about 27 hours between the dress and the live broadcast. Elvis viewed the dress tape. His movements in the the live broadcast of American Trilogy are refined, he seems much more focused. The stakes have obviously been raised.

Something that got my attention the first time I saw the dress rehearsal footage of this song was the flute solo. See the refinement in performance.

Colours of the flowers used, may have been intentionally changed. Having girls with flowers alongside the stage was intentional, directed by Marty Pasetta.

Background is cleaner in live broadcast- darkened- less movement of orchestra director Joe Geurcio visible.

Elvis gave away his cape in live broadcast. There's more.
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