I attended the “first rehearsal” for “Shock Nation” season 2. This was the next step after the table read – I documented the table read here. In my on-set observations across multiple projects, I have seen rehearsals just prior to shooting particular scenes. However, this rehearsal was different – it took place at a location off-set.
Shock Nation is a webseries about a girl growing up in the streets of Baltimore City and trying to find her way, as well as escape from living in poverty and being surrounded by a neighborhood of violence and drug addiction. She gets inspired by a dance group called Shock Nation that changes her perspective on life. This series will go through the life struggles of today’s young adults living in poverty, but through their friendship and strong bond, they realize that together they can achieve anything, thrive to keep chasing after their dreams, and survive any obstacle because their love for dance helps to save their life in ways they could never imagine. – From TruTalent Creative Works website
Watch all eight episodes of Season 1 here.
The room was virtually divided into multiple physical rehearsal areas. In each of these areas, a group of actors was instructed by Kimia’ to rehearse the dialog of a particular scene, repeatedly, for a specified time interval. Each area was rehearsing a different scene. This was going on simultaneously, and there was no interaction among the areas. Only dialog was rehearsed. There was no blocking/setting marks/sound/lighting/camera involvement. Stand-ins were used for an absent actor in a scene. Kimia’ (as an actor) was also rehearsing in a group, but as the writer/director, she was also making the rounds assisting and providing guidance.
The goal of this rehearsal: Repeating the dialog of a scene over and over allows an actor to become familiar with the scene, comfortable in their role, learn their lines, and also become comfortable working with cast mates in the scene.
Kimia’ encouraged me to join in the exercise as a stand-in. Always want to spotlight something new in my entertainment adventure. In the past, I have been a stand-in during blocking and to ensure proper lighting. But this was the first time I participated actually reading lines. I felt comfortable after a while and it was so much fun.
After a few rounds of these isolated group rehearsals, the Group Scene Study was conducted. This is where the scenes rehearsed earlier, initially in isolation, were repeated for all the attendees to observe. Applause!! Additional scenes were rehearsed that were not done in the isolated rehearsals.
Here are a bunch of photos from the session. All photos are from the author’s collection.
This rehearsal was a great way for the actors to interact with each other for the first time at the scene level. I am so impressed. The actors really get into it. They are so dedicated.
I am glad I was given the opportunity to actively participate in this activity, helping the actors to run through lines and understand the scene. Of course I am not an actor, but just working with them I must conclude that acting is HARD work.
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Originally published February 2, 2018. Updated October 15, 2020 to adjust category assignments.