Thursday, 18 July 2013

Have a First Reading of your show

written by Toksvig

A First Reading involves a group of performers sight-reading an early draft libretto, then offering some constructive critique.

For us, the point of a First Reading is not about seeing the show performed. It’s just about hearing the show for the first time, instead of sitting inside it as you read or write it on a screen or a piece of paper.

A First Reading is the chance to allow a little distance between yourself and the work, to see if it’s starting to have legs, and let it take a few steps on its own.

We deliberately don’t rehearse these readings, just read the script ‘cold’ off the page. The benefits of doing this are to show the script in all its glory, without having rehearsed anything to enhance it.

A First Reading is about finding out what the first draft is made of, warts and all, so you know where to go with the second draft.

We’re experienced sight-readers, so you’ll get a smooth reading. We’re all able to pitch in and play multiple parts, making clear choices and distinctions so that you get as clear a reading as possible.

A First Reading is about looking at the bigger picture of the story, the major character arcs, and the core emotional drives.

We read the lyrics out loud, as if they were dialogue. Although something is certainly lost by not hearing the lyrics with the music, other things are gained.

Hearing lyrics read aloud allows the writers to focus fully on the storytelling and character voice in the lyric. We can look at song structure, and it can also be useful in considering music choices. Logistically, not having to provide a piano or CD player frees up the kinds of places we can do a First Reading, and that can save both money and admin time. For all of these reasons, we limit our First Readings to reading all the words out loud, be they dialogue or lyric.

We’re all familiar with early work, and many of us also write or direct. Your First Reading will happen in a warm, supportive and experienced environment. We can give you general constructive critique, or you can ask us for comments on specific aspects of the show.

Most importantly, First Readings are an affordable way to get professional and experienced critique on your work at a very early stage, enabling you to make informed choices about how to move forwards.

You don’t even have to print out scripts: we prefer to read e-versions on iPads and phones, to save time, money and trees. First Readings are quick to organise, quick to do, and invaluable for developing new work.

For more information, email Jenifer on never[at]acompletelossforwords[dot]com

To find out more about the performers, visit The Copenhagen Interpretation website.

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