Bad Dress Rehearsal, Good Opening Night

Main piece: Okay, so… if you have a terrible dress rehearsal- well, what I should say is, how your production does in its final dress rehearsal is supposed to be an indicator of how your first performance is. BUT if you have a terrible dress rehearsal, it means that you’re going to have a great opening night. And if you have a great dress rehearsal, it means you’re going to have a bad opening night.


Background information (Why does the informant know or like this piece? Where or who did they learn it from? What does it mean to them?):

Um… again it’s something that, this is a universal thing, this happens at all theaters. It’s universal knowledge. There wasn’t a specific instant where I realized that this is what everybody thought. It was something I just heard over and over. As I did more and more performances, it’s something I myself found more accurate. I think it makes a lot of sense. It can really kind of scare your cast into trying their absolute hardest. If you’re in a show and you have a terrible dress rehearsal, it’s easy to feel defeated and think the show isn’t good, it’s never going to be good. But because of the superstition, if you have a terrible dress rehearsal, you’re going to try that much harder to overcome everything that happened in the dress rehearsal. There’s a really beautiful energy in not knowing if the production is going to work. If you know that your show is amazing, then you sit back too much, and you don’t try as hard, and you don’t really bring yourself to the stage, and you don’t really plant yourself in the present. The, kind of, energy in throwing it all together and hoping something sticks… you are giving so much more of yourself as a performer.


Context (When or where would this be performed? Under what circumstance?):

In the final dress and opening night of a production. That’s pretty simple haha. It’s not something that carries across. If you have bad rehearsals all the time, you’re not going to have a good opening night. Its very specific to the dress rehearsal.


Personal Analysis:

While I have done some plays before, none have been serious enough to accumulate folk beliefs. This opposite outlook on the status of dress rehearsals is an interesting way to counteract the potential anxiety accrued from having a bad practice run. The underlying intention is to calm the nerves of the performers so that they feel confident in acting the next day. While I am not convinced that having a bad dress rehearsal removes the mistakes from a performance, I am convinced that tacking on a positive connotation to the act serves to dispel the frustration associated with a less than satisfactory dress rehearsal.