How to use the Repetition Exercise in rehearsals

Repetition can be brought into the rehearsal room, by asking scene partners to repeat lines back to one another. This can blow all assumptions about how those lines ought to be said out of the water. It can also help you find deeper and more meaningful connections to the text and the people you are talking to. For example, let’s say you have a line: ‘How can I ever trust you again?’. You may have decided how this line should be said at an early stage of rehearsal, or learnt the line with a certain inflection you’re finding hard to drop. You may be having trouble connecting to the line, or perhaps you don’t think another way of saying it is possible. By repeating the line back and forth between you and your partner, using the basic rule of repetition: ‘Respond to the behaviour of your partner’, you might notice some anger in your partner, which might irritate you, so the line could come out irritated. If your partner reaches out to you and touches you on the shoulder, which might make you feel touched, the line could then come out with softness. You’ll soon find that there are so many ways to say a line, and you’ll be wanting to throw away any early assumptions. Our assumptions are rarely as interesting and true as we first think.

The salon:collective offers training and professional development for actors, tailored to the needs of the industry, through its programme of acting (Meisner-based), movement and voice classes in London.

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