Word of mouth is the best marketing possible, and good reviews can help shows astronomically at the Fringe, so the more prepared a show can be the more people will be talking about it.
Pretty simple logic, however finding a space to rehearse and perfect a show isn’t as easy as it sounds. With one city and 64 performances, a lot of these performers or their production companies don’t have buildings to themselves at their disposal. Performers have to make do to prepare for a Festival where only so many people can make time to see your show.
If you don’t take my word for it, I’ve taken it upon myself to talk to #IndyFringe15 performers and ask them where they’ve been rehearsing as they prepare for the next chapter of IndyFringe. Here’s what we got back:Our “Fruit Flies…” variety show is tour-ready, but we will be premiering some new repertoire at IndyFringe and need to rehearse while on the road. We’ve found the best space for working on music and choreography to be the front lawn of our hosts’ home in St. Paul. It provides ample space to work and a surprisingly effective marketing opportunity, when we grab the attention of curious passersby. One jogger even recognized us from the Touring Artist Showcase and yelled to us mid-stride, “Fruit Flies Like a Banana! I loved your preview, and I’m coming to your show!”
-The Fourth Wall
FRUIT FLIES LIKE A BANANA
We have been rehearsing in my house for 4.48 Psychosis! It has been interesting to bring something so charged and vulnerable into my home, and I have been truly astounded by the amount of honesty poured out each night in our living room. Soon, thanks to our director Bill Wilkison’s wonderful wife, Tonya, and Broadripple High School, we will be rehearsing in a black box. The students will also have the opportunity to watch a final dress rehearsal before we begin the festival, which not only gives us our first audience but will provide the opportunity to pass on this powerful piece about mental health and the life of an artist to young people who are early on in endeavoring their own explorations into theatre.
-Anna Marie Elliott, Savage At Last
We at In the Mix have an excellent rehearsal space in the May Studio Theatre at the University of Evansville. One of our core members is part of the theater department’s faculty, so we really luck out when it comes to have summertime rehearsal options. (Not so much during the school year).
-In the Mix
I don’t rehearse, unless you count telling stories to my friends, my family (when they stop running), my dog, the garden fence post, the chickens, night crawlers. Storytellers are more like singers. We have a set “song book” in our head and mostly practice in the shower.
MY SISTER DIANE: A STORY OF HOPE, HUMOR, AND HOSPICE
We had three different rehearsal places. Two indoors and one outdoors. Sometimes given some nice weather we would rehearse outside. We would get some strange looks, but sometimes we would entertain a few people. Our main hub for rehearsal was the historic Athenaeum Theater and every now and then we would go to the Madame CJ Walker theater.
The show, in its present incarnation, was developed at a place in Maine called Celebration Barn (a space with a long history of movement work and therefore very good “energy”). During that time at “the barn”, the show benefitted from the input of a number of other practitioners who were there at the time, also working on their own pieces.
Most of the final rehearsal work this summer was done in a space (or whatever space was available) at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, where I am an adjunct professor. However, when we were in Florida for the Orlando Fringe Festival (doing my other show), we rehearsed “A Little Business” in a room at the local Performing Arts Center, and even a few times on the patio of the house we were staying in. One particular time I recall, we had to continue through an afternoon rainstorm to complete the show because it was the only time available to do it in daylight.
A LITTLE BUSINESS AT THE BIG TOP
My rehearsal space is my back yard after midnight. My brain works better at night plus everybody is asleep so there’s less noise. I generally begin writing around 1am and end around 5am. Walking in circles seems to work best for me. My back yard has a 10 foot wide circle where grass will no longer grow. I just walk in circles and talk out loud to no one. So far my neighbors haven’t complained but I have noticed them peeking out of the curtains.
STEWART HUFF: ROAD STORIES
Fleece Academy rehearses in a finished basement beneath Mass Ave’s Starbucks. It’s a perfect atmosphere to prepare us for the basement we perform “Up Yours, Indianapolis!” at the Marott Center. The trash compactor smell wafting from the room next door adds to the experience. Fortunately the puppet half of the cast do not notice.
Up Yours, Indianapolis
We also have a great community presence to help support artists as well. Sally Perkins with The Sibling Staircase rehearses in a Butler University classroom. KT Peterson (Mr. Boniface, The Wise) received space donated from Q Artistry.
If your Tonya Jone Miller (Threads) and you’re running a one-person show, you rehearse everywhere from walking down the street to driving in her car. Jeremy Schaefer (Working Titles) practices his shows on his cat in their living room. Krish Mohan (An Indian Comedian: How Not To Fit In) says that his show gets better the more and more he performs it, as he tours it all the way to #IndyFringe15.
While a lot of theatre’s require stages, sometimes you can’t act it out in the exact space that you want it to before the show. You have to adapt and adjust as a performer; that’s what makes live theatre so great. And even though IndyFringe is just one stage for these performers, the world is their rehearsal space. Now it’s time to bring the world to IndyFringe.