When Is A Preview Not A Preview? When It's A Dress Rehearsal
April 2, 2010
I know rehearsal periods for theatrical productions are tight in this country. Artists manage to pull of incredible feats i four weeks through sheer hard work, talent and caffeine. But I'm getting a little tired of theater companies using preview performances as dress rehearsals.
A dress rehearsal is not a preview performance. There is no audience at a dress rehearsal. The director has the right to stop and start the action at his or her will, though the proceeding should include at least one "as if in front of a live audience" run-through. A preview performance, on the other hand, should be a finished, ready-to-go product. There are paying customers out there who are there to see a show and want to be entertained.
But for some reason, companies often disregard these facts and treat the preview(s) as if they're just public rehearsals where money has changed hands between the public and the producers. This is not on. There isn't a grey area between rehearsing and performing. The two are distinct and should be treated that way.