The Suitcase has been talking to director and playwright Nikoline Werdelin about working with open rehearsals on her play Stellar Family. We have reflected on the qualities of open rehearsals in our report here
This Friday we visited Nikoline in her beautiful home in Frederiksberg, where we had a talk about the qualities and consequences of open rehearsal from the director’s and the actors’ perspective. As we mention in our report, open rehearsals are a great way of learning more about the audience’s experiences with performance art. It turns out that when the theatre is willing to show the imperfect work in progress, we allow the audience to give answers, thoughts and reflections that are imperfect as well and perhaps expressions of their gut feeling.
However, open rehearsals also affect the creative team on stage in a great way. Nikoline described, for instance that both directors and actors often feel very vulnerable when audiences watch them work during rehearsals. They might be afraid to forget their lines or agreements etc. Therefore, extra nerves during rehearsals are expected.
During our talk the Suitcase was particularly interested in learning how best to communicate the information we get from the audience to the creative team. Nikoline explained, that it depends on how many days there are until the premiere. The more time the team have to consider and perhaps implement elements of the feedback, the more information we can give them. If there are only a couple of days until the premiere, the team are primarily interested in how specific scenes work and if everything is understood correctly. More detailed information is welcome later in the process after the premiere. At this point the director/playwright and the actors are able to take in and consider the more general aspects of the knowledge we have gained. This, however, may differ according to the specific director’s and creative team’s preferences.
Nikoline explains that the rehearsal period on stage is very brief at the Royal Danish Theatre, and therefore it is important that the time on stage is used as wisely and as productively as possible.
It might be some of this urgency that the audience sense during rehearsals, and it could be one of the reasons why open rehearsals often are experienced as particularly intense and present.
The Suitcase still has much more to learn about how best to communicate our knowledge, but this interesting talk gave us a perspective from the other side.
Nikoline’s beautiful and very caring dog enjoys the spotlight a bit more than she does. Therefore, he is the model for this blog post.
You can read more about Nikoline Werdelin, her plays, and her drawings here.